Ris de Veau Panés
This recipe can be used for both Veal or Lamb Sweetbreads. The photos in this post depict Veal Sweetbreads. The flour used in this recipe is organic chestnut flour, locally-sourced, Paleo-approved!
Prep Time: 35 minutes (plus up to one hour if you wish to soak the sweetbreads first in water)
Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
Total Time: 45-50 minutes
Description: Sweetbreads are the thymus gland of the animal. They have a light texture, like very tender meat and are not chewy. In France, they are a delicacy, as they have a very subtle flavor and are nutrient dense. They are also rare and therefore expensive, as there is only one pair of thymus glands per animal. This recipe can be used for veal or lamb sweetbreads. This can be served either as an appetizer or a main course.
2 Lobes of Veal Sweetbreads or 12 oz (350g) Lamb Sweetbreads
2 oz. (50g) Chestnut Flour or Coconut Flour
2 Tbsp. (30g) Grassfed Butter
1 Tbsp. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional)
Juic of ½ Lime
Zest of ½ Lime
2 Tbsp. Parsley
Rinse the sweetbreads in cold water. (If there are blood residues, place the sweetbreads into a bowl of cold water for 20 minutes up to one hour, changing the water once every ten minutes. This process removes any visible impurities. We rinsed but did not do the soaking.
Boil a pot of water containing 2 pinches of salt. (A “pinch” is using two fingers and your thumb to pick up the salt.)
Place the sweetbreads in the pot of gently boiling, salted water using a large slotted spoon. Allow to gently boil for 20 minutes. (For lamb sweetbreads, only 8-10 minutes.) This will “blanche” the sweetbreads.
Gently remove the sweetbreads from the pot, allow to cool a bit so that you may then gently remove the thin outer skin of the sweetbreads with the help of a small paring knife. This may take you a few minutes.
Slice the sweetbreads into about 5 thick slices each, like cutting a loaf of bread. (Skip this step if using Lamb Sweetbreads, since they are small enough already.)
Roll each piece in the flour. The flour helps hold the sweetbreads together and gives them a crispy exterior texture in contrast to the interior unctuous texture.
In the photo above, the sweetbreads at the upper left are rolled in coconut flour, a fluffy white color and texture, while those on the right are rolled in chestnut flour, denser and brownish in color. The bowl at bottom contains coconut flour.
Heat a pan to medium-high and add the butter, allowing it to brown slightly. This is called “beurre noisette,” giving the butter an nutty flavor.
Add the pieces of sweetbreads, allowing them to brown for a few minutes in the butter before turning them over, sprinkling sea salt to both sides.
Using a spoon, drizzle each piece every few minutes with the butter sauce. You may add the olive oil if the pan seems dry, or else a bit more butter.
Sprinkle lime zest onto both sides.
After about 10-15 minutes cooking time in the pan (for lamb sweetbreads only 8-10 minutes cooking time), add parsley and lime juice, allowing another minute cooking time before turning off the heat.
Remove the sweetbread pieces from the pan and serve them hot.
I first made this recipe with my neighbor Rebecca, who is from Dijon and grew up eating offal at her grandmother’s house. (See the other recipe I did with her: Poached & Suteed Lamb Brains!) We tried both chestnut and coconut flour and in a taste test, the chestnut flour won out, only because the coconut flour masked the delicate flavor of the sweetbreads themselves. Both variants were delicious and are shown in the photo, with the coconut flour variant in the foreground, chestnut in the background. We are both moms with small children and despite being under time pressure we were able to finish this recipe in an hour, including photographing each step! Then we had time to enjoy the meal for a few minutes over a small glass of wine. Try accompanying the sweetbreads with a dry white wine, such as a sauvignon blanc. We had a sauvignon gris from the Francs Côtes de Bordeaux appellation.