There are two varieties of sweetbread - the "throat" sweetbread (thymus gland) and the "stomach" sweetbread (pancreas). The latter is much more digestible. Lamb's sweetbreads are very tender. This article of food must be nicely prepared, or it is very unappetising. The difficulty is to clear off all the connective tissue and fat from between the lobules.
Soak the sweetbread in cold water for one or two hours. Then put it into a saucepan with cold water to cover it. Bring to the boil, and boil for five minutes. Then lift it out and place in a basin of cold water to cool it. This preserves the colour of the sweetbread. Then, with great care, remove from it all the fat and skin, pulling them off with the fingers. It is now ready for cooking.
Braised Sweetbreads. Prepare the sweetbreads as above. Braise them for one and a half hours - that is, place the sweetbreads unbroken into a saucepan containing a little onion, carrot, turnip, celery, savoury herbs, and seasoning; add a little meat stock, just enough to cover the meat; cover with paper and a well-fitting lid. At the end of the time take them out, brown in the oven, and serve on a piece of fried toast or a bed of mashed potatoes. Pour a good sauce round them, such as Italienne, made as follows: -
I ounce flour. I ounce butter, 1 bay leaf.
Onion and sprig parsley.
I gill sherry.
1/2 pint second stock.
Melt the butter; fry the herbs and onions and flour to a good brown colour. Add the sherry, and allow it to cook a few minutes; add the stock when boiling, and allow to simmer for an hour. Strain the sauce before pouring round the sweetbreads.
1 stomach sweetbread. I gill white stock.
White pepper and salt.
Break the prepared sweetbread into small pieces of equal size; put them into a small lined stewpan with the stock; put on the lid, and allow it to simmer slowly until tender.
When cooked, lift the pieces of sweetbread out, place them on a neat square of toast on a hot dish, and keep them warm. Break the arrowroot into a small basin with a little cold water, and add it to the stock in the pan. Stir over the fire until boiling, and boil for five minutes, so as to cook the arrowroot. Add cream, and season to taste. Pour the sauce over the sweetbread, and serve very hot.
See also recipe in diabetic feeding (p. 487) for sweetbreads and tomatoes.