Veal sweetbreads pearl barley ~ parsley ~ lemon ~ parmesan by Paul Ainsworth

Paul Ainsworth

Paul Ainsworth

4th January 2014
Paul Ainsworth

Veal sweetbreads pearl barley ~ parsley ~ lemon ~ parmesan by Paul Ainsworth

Veal sweetbreads pearl barley ~ parsley ~ lemon ~ parmesan by Paul Ainsworth (photography by David Griffen)


  • Serves 4
  • Ingredients
  • 4 medium sized veal sweetbreads
  • Olive oil
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Curry seasoning
  • 50g fine salt
  • 50g korma curry powder
  • Pearl barley risotto
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 150g small grained pearl barley soaked for 24 hours
  • 20g salted butter
  • 1 shallot fine brunoise
  • 4 sprigs thyme picked to individual leaves
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 3 tbsp finely grated parmesan
  • ½ lemon juice
  • Chives finely cut
  • Chervil finely shredded
  • Confit lemon
  • 100ml stock syrup
  • 1 lemon
  • Parsley puree (1/2 paco)
  • 300g picked parsley
  • 1 banana shallot
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fine salt
  • Finishing butter
  • 50g salted butter
  • 10g confit shallot
  • 6g confit garlic
  • 6g Dijon mustard
  • 5g ground almonds
  • 20g parsley puree
  • 10g Parma ham slices, brunoise
  • Beef glaze
  • 100g beef trim
  • 2 large shallots
  • 3 large sprigs of thyme
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 190g port
  • 350g red wine
  • 1 ltr veal stock
  • 75g Sherry vinegar
  • 3 white peppercorns
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic


Parsley puree
Blanch in salted boiling water and refresh the parsley leaves. Sweat the shallots in a knob of butter with a pinch of thyme leaves. When soft add to the parsley with the salt and olive oil, blend until smooth then freeze in a paco container for 8 hours, blitz and refreeze three times, then pass through a drum sieve.
Confit lemon
Finely slice the lemon on a sharp mandolin or meat slicer around 2mm thin. Then remove all pips from the slices and blanche in plenty of salted boiling water for 10 seconds. Refresh in ice water and repeat three times. Drain well and cover with stock syrup before bringing to a simmer. Then, cover with a cartouche and place either in a warm place such as a shelf above the stove or over a very low heat. Be sure to keep a close eye on this – the pith should become completely translucent and taste bitter-sweet.
Beef glaze
Put a medium sized pan over a high heat then add a splash of oil. Roast off the beef trim until it caramelizes. Add the shallots, thyme, rosemary, garlic and sea salt. Deglaze the pan with sherry vinegar and add the port. Add the red wine and reduce until jammy. Stir in the stock and allow the whole mixture to simmer for two hours over a medium heat, skimming often. Finally, pass through a sieve and then through muslin until it resembles a smooth liquid, return to the stove and reduce till thick and sticky, skimming throughout. Pour into a small container and keep in a warm place.
Parmesan crisps
Finely grate parmesan into a thin layer on greaseproof ensuring there’s no gaps. Bake at 175c for five minutes. Turn the tray, then pop back in the oven and check it every two minutes until golden. Allow the parmesan to cool and break into shards.
Finishing butter
Mix all the ingredients together gently so as not to incorporate any air. Cut into small cubes and chill. You will need 80g of the finished butter for the four portions in total.
Remove the sinew and any fat from the sweetbreads and marinade in curry seasoning and oil. Vacuum individually and poach in a water bath at 62c for one and a half hours, cool and neaten each sweetbread around the edges to an oval shape. Caramelize and finish cooking in foaming butter. Keep on a resting rack, then flash under the grill and glaze in beef reduction. Just before serving, coat with a thin layer of lemon confit and small pieces of parmesan shards with chives.
Pearl barley risotto base
Sweat down the shallot and thyme and grate of the garlic clove with a micro plane. Add the soaked pearl barley, that has been strained and washed with cold water. While stirring the sweated shallots, add hot chicken stock a ladle at a time, stirring frequently and adding a ladle more stock when the previous has reduced, Continue until there is a slight bite and the mixture is not too wet. Add in the weighted finished butter with the grated parmesan and stir over a low heat to melt. Finish with lemon juice, fine salt, chives and chervil to taste, adding a splash of chicken stock if the risotto is too thick. Return to the stove for a few seconds to add heat but do not boil.
Spoon three tablespoons of risotto per portion in the center of a warm plate. Glaze the sweetbread with the beef reduction and spoon over a neat teaspoon of lemon confit. Place a few of the parmesan crisps onto the sweetbread and sprinkle over the chives.

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