Bibliophiles' Lunch

Sisters share paleo recipes, books, and DIY

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Ris de Veau Braises (Braised Sweetbreads) Julia Child Recipe

Sweetbreads are so tender and delicious. I first discovered them in France and have loved them ever since. I’m glad that Dartagnan carries organic sweetbreads. They are the thymus gland and/or pancreas of a calf. I have been told that as the animal ages, the thymus shrinks, so only the calf gland is available. The flavor is mild and buttery in consistency.


1-1/2 to 2 lbs sweetbreads (ordered from
1/4 cup each finely diced carrots, shallots. and celery
2 oz diced ham, pancetta or bacon
4 sprigs parsley
1/4 tsp thyme
1/2 bay leaf
pinch salt
pinch pepper
1/2 – 3/4 cup white wine
2 -4 cups chicken stock

Soak the sweetbreads in a large pot of water overnight in the refrigerator. Drain and peel the tough membranes off the sweetbreads and then blanch them in simmering water with lemon juice and salt (1 tsp salt and 1 TBS lemon juice per quart) for 15 minutes. Drain and plunge into cold water for 5 minutes.

Cook the vegetables and ham or bacon slowly for 10 – 15 minutes until tender but not browned. Add the sweetbreads and seasonings and cook an additional 2 – 3 minutes. Add wine and broth to cover. Bring to a simmer on the stove top, then cover and place in 325 F oven for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sweetbreads cool in their broth until ready to serve.

From Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume I by Julia Child, p 409 – 411



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Variation on Rabbit with Mustard Sauce

Today I wanted to make the Rabbit with Mustard Sauce again; however, I don’t have all the ingredients I used the first time around–specifically, I don’t have any broth neither fresh nor packaged.

I did follow the for the most part but varied the recipe as follows:

1 shallot instead of the onion
3 cloves garlic
1 cup white wine
8 oz baby bella mushrooms
water to cover the rabbit

I was rushing to finish the other components of dinner and when I sat down I was disappointed with the sauce until I realized that I had not added the mustard. Much better with mustard!

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Soupe de Chataignes au Citrouille (Chestnut and Pumpkin Soup)


10 – 12 ounces whole peeled chestnuts
1 lb pumpkin flesh (preferably from a fresh pumpkin rather than a can)
2 T cooking fat (I used bacon fat)
1 lg sweet potato cut into 1″ cubes
2 small carrots, peeled and diced
2 small celery stalks, diced
1 shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
sprig of parsley
1 Qt chicken broth (preferably homemade, if using store bought add 1 T unflavored gelatin)
1 cup ginger tea (slice a 1/2″ section of ginger root and steep in hot water)
1-1/2 t salt or to taste
1 can Goya coconut milk (because it has no stabilizing gums) or homemade coconut milk

Saute the carrots, celery stalks, and shallot in the fat until the shallot has softened. Add the chestnuts, sweet potato and pumpkin and saute for a few more minutes. Add the broth, ginger tea, parsley, bay leaf and garlic and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes until all ingredients are soft. Using a stick blender puree the soup until it is smooth. Add the coconut milk and salt to taste.