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 Dartagnan.com)
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
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