Veal Sweetbreads Sous Vide (thymus) with Chestnuts

Approximating the traditional approach, sweetbreads are started in 70 F/21 C and increased to 183 F/84 C.


Sweetbreads, raw, 1 lb/450g.
Parsley, Fresh chopped, a few sprigs.
Espagnole Sauce, 2 oz./50ml.
Butter, 8 oz/240 g.
Daikon sprouts, 0.25 oz/10 g..
Chestnuts , preserved, 5 oz./140 G.
Honey, 2 oz./60 G.
White Pepper, pinch.
Ground Fennel, pinch.
Kosher salt as needed.
Ground black pepper as needed.

Arborio rice, 0.25 cup/60 ml.
White wine, 2 oz/60 ml.
Water or stock, approximately 2 cups/500 ml.
Saffron, a pinch.
Salt as needed.
Butter, 1 oz/30 g.

Equipment requirements
Immersion circulator, portable or stationary.
Heat rated container, minimum of 2 gallons/8 liters.
Heat rated sous vide bags.
Flat bottomed skillet, approximately 12″/30 cm. and 3″/90 mm deep.
Infrared or probe thermometer.


Serves 2
Level of difficulty 3


Preheat the bath to
165 F/74 C.

Remove sweetbreads from packaging and soak in cold water for thirty minutes.

Stage sweetbreads into a Ziploc gallon freezer bag with 1 qt/2 L cold water.

Lower the bag into the bath–leave the bag open and hang it over the edge of the container. Use the lid to secure it.

Allow the bag to sink in the bath pre-heated to
165 F/74 C for 1 hour

Eventually, the water will get so cloudy that you really can’t see the sweetbreads. Discard the broth.

Thoroughly shock the sweetbreads down to 70 F/21 C using iced water.

Gently dry them off and remove any large pieces of membranous tissue.

Put them in a vacuum bag and remove the excess air.

Put the vacuumed bag into a glass pie pan or other suitable flat container.

Add a weight to the top. This will flatten the sweet breads and remove whatever moisture remains. Once they are cold, you will see they become quite firm again. Drain and discard excess water.

Spread out the chestnuts on a non stick surface.

Coat with honey

Sprinkle with white pepper and fennel seed.

Drizzle with a few drops of oil.

Roast at
350 F/176 C for fifteen minutes, only until bubbly.

Set aside to cool.

Make sure your sweetbreads are quite dry.

Pan sear the sweetbreads as shown in this short video HERE. Remove the sweet breads from the pan. Click on this LINK to see the risotto demonstrated in a short concise video, or….

Heat the skillet to 250 F/121 C. Add a few drops of olive oil, add the risotto and coat with the oil. Add the wine, cook almost dry. Start adding the liquid in small amounts–about 1/2 cup/150 ml at a time, cooking almost dry each time. Add the saffron and a pinch of salt. After about five additions of liquid, you should get the creamy texture. Add the butter and turn off the heat. Let it rest while you get everything else ready to plate.


becomes this…

Click on this LINK to see a video depicting this special presentation. Spoon the risotto into the middle of the plate. Dip the sweetbreads in demi-glace and place on top of the risotto. Sprinkle with the Daikon sprouts. Sprinkle with a little fresh Thyme. Drizzle a little more demi-glace. Arrange three chestnuts on top.

And there you have it!



The tenderness of the sweetbreads is gauged using the pinch/poke method.

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