What's your favorite, easy sweetbread recipe?

Much to my surprise, I found sweetbreads at my local grocery store - something I’ve never seen available. I’ve never prepared sweetbreads at home, though I adore them when I’ve had them at restaurants. They were such a great price that I picked up two pieces (beef sweetbreads) for a try.

What’s your favorite recipe? I realize simple is relative and that sweetbreads require some overnight prep and cleaning, so I guess I’m looking more for a “doesn’t require ton of ingredients or additional hours of prep” kind of recipe after the typical cleaning. Any suggestions?

I’ve made this several times and it’s been great. And not complicated. I’d go in search of the vegetables because I think they definitely add to it. Congrats.

Thanks! I’m glad to hear that yours kept well in the freezer. If these turn out well, I might go back to pick up more and store them in the freezer. The two pieces cost me under 50 cents!

What do you mean by

How small are they?

Each piece is about as big as my hand. They were literally dirt cheap. They were listed as manager’s special, so I have a feeling they marked them down because they weren’t selling quickly. I know they’re very perishable, but they are still before the ‘sell by date’. They had about 6-8 pieces on the shelf, and each piece ranged from 20-25 cents. So I figured even if I botch them in cooking, or they aren’t great, I will have only wasted a little over 40 cents experimenting.

Where do you live? And what kind of sweetbreads are they? Something seems not right at all about the price.

I’m in the Boston area. They’re listed as beef sweetbreads (not veal or lamb, anything fancy). It’s packaged, so it’s not from a local butchery and I’ve never seen them sold before. The price is definitely crazy low, even with nothing to compare it to. This is a local store of a regional chain and this location is selling more different cuts of meat, probably because there is a surging Asian population in the area, and in general the increase interest in offal and non-standard cuts. You usually see gizzards, various bones including marrow bones, and even chicken feet in this market. Someone either made a serious mistake in the pricing, or they are trying to move this product that isn’t selling so hot.

Keep us posted as to your results. As I posted, that recipe is a real keeper.

I made them today for dinner. I didn’t have time to pick up the veggies, so instead I opted for a light breading and fried them in butter and then had them on top of a light salad of microgreens with a squeeze of lemon.

They tasted fine, though I apparently did a terrible job of cleaning them. I suspected as much while I was cleaning, because I found it hard to distinguish what was a lump of tubes and fat vs what was the gland without slicing into it. I ended up not getting nearly as much of the membrane and fatty bits off as I thought I did. I think now that I have a better sense of the texture, I’ll know better next time. Even with my botched cleaning job, the actual bits came out much smaller than in the package - I would say they were down to about 2/3 to half the size. Each package was probably good for an appetizer for someone – that probably explains the low price as well.

I wasn’t put off by the cleaning, but it’s not something I’m dying to get my hands into again. If I find some really great sweet breads or see another crazy bargain, I might pick up more.

I’m curious. Did you follow any of the instructions in that recipe? As in 1, 2 and 3? I’m a recipe follower (proudly standing up for those of us who are!) and Saveur, IMO, is generally reputable. And, yes, what you wind up with is smaller than what you start with. Perhaps next time get the vegetables. And I served all of that over TJs Harvest Grains.

I cooked them quite differently, but I did clean in a similar way. I also looked at various recipes and watched a video of Martha Stewart who had a guest chef cooking sweetbreads on one of her shows. The cleaning part seems fairly consistent between all the recipes I’ve seen and read. I’m not sure the vegetables would have changed my experience; taste really wasn’t an issue with the end product. I could have just done with less gristly bits mixed in.

I kind of follow recipes. I probably am more often than not a recipe amalgamator (not sure that’s a word). I look up various ways to cook a dish and I take a little bit of each. Sometimes I end up following one recipe more closely, but I rarely do it exactly unless I have to bake something, and usually it turns out pretty well.

Okey dokey.

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Bessarabsky Market, Kyiv. Ukraine
Credit: Juan Antonio Segal, Flickr