Berkswell-crusted sous vide sweetbreads with green bean salad and watercress velouté

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Cooking sweetbreads sous vide is a guaranteed way to serve them at their best. After cooking them to perfection, chef George Farrugia fries them in breadcrumbs bolstered by Berkswell (a hard ewe's milk cheese from the West Midlands) and places them on a bed of green beans, hazelnuts and a verdant watercress velouté.

First published in 2020





Watercress velouté

Green bean salad

French dressing

To garnish

  • watercress, small leaves only
  • hazelnut oil, for drizzling


  • Sous vide equipment
  • Blender


Pour the milk over the sweetbreads, ensuring they are completely submerged, then place in the fridge overnight
The next day, drain, rinse and pat the sweetbreads dry, then seal in a vacuum bag with a dash of olive oil and the thyme. Preheat a water bath to 63°C and cook the sweetbreads for 40 minutes
Meanwhile, prepare the velouté. Sweat the shallot in a dash of olive oil until soft and golden, then add the leeks and cook until they collapse. Add the stock, bring to the boil, then remove from the heat. Transfer the mixture to a blender, add the watercress and blitz until completely smooth. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl set over ice (as this will keep the colour), then lightly season and set aside to cool to room temperature
Once the sweetbreads have cooked, remove the bag from the water bath and place into iced water to halt the cooking process. Remove the sweetbreads from the bag, trim off any sinew on the outsides of the sweetbreads, then pat dry and set aside
Make the French dressing by blitzing all the ingredients together in a blender until emulsified – start off with a little of the vinegars, then add more until you’re happy with the flavour. Set aside
Set up a pane station by having a bowl of flour (seasoned with the salt, pepper and paprika), then a bowl of beaten egg, then a bowl of breadcrumbs mixed with the grated cheese. Bring a deep pan of oil to 180°C
Coat the sweetbreads in flour, then egg, then cheesy breadcrumbs, ensuring they are completely covered (you can double-coat them in egg and breadcrumbs to ensure a complete coverage). Deep-fry the sweetbreads until golden (you may need to do this in batches), then drain and lightly season
To serve, mix together all the ingredients for the green bean salad and toss in a little of the dressing. Pour a pool of the watercress velouté into the bottom of each bowl, then top with a large spoonful of the salad. Place some sweetbreads on top then garnish with the watercress leaves and a drizzle of hazelnut oil

After swapping a law degree for a career in the kitchen, George Farrugia's flavour-driven, classically rooted cooking has made him one of the UK's rising culinary stars.

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