Sous vide lamb sweetbreads with shiitake and peas

For a truly divine sous vide lamb sweetbreads recipe, look no further than this incomparable creation by Steve Drake. Choose sweetbreads which are white-pink, plump and firm. With the savoury pea 'square', the dried shiitake mushroom dust and salty, crunchy jamón Ibérico, this is a wonderfully well-balanced dish.




Sous vide lamb sweetbreads

Lamb sweetbreads garnish

Pea square

  • 400ml of white chicken stock
  • 250g of frozen peas
  • 1 gelatine leaf, softened in cold water
  • 5g of agar agar
  • salt
  • sugar


  • Fine sieve
  • Thermomix TM31
  • Blender
  • Water bath
  • Sous vide bags


Submerge the sweetbreads in milk, cover and store in the refrigerator for 24 hours. This will help remove any excess blood and brighten the flesh
Remove the sweetbreads from the milk and rinse under cold water. Dab dry with kitchen towel, vacuum seal and poach in a water bath at 64˚C for 30 minutes. Remove from the water bath and place directly into ice water for at least 15 minutes
Remove the sweetbreads from the bags and peel off the thin membrane, as this is chewy and undesirable. Place the sweetbreads on a tray lined with baking paper, cover with another piece of baking paper of similar size, place another tray on top and press in the refrigerator with a 4-5kg weight for 12 hours
For the pea square, boil the white stock with a pinch of sugar and salt. Add the peas, bring back to the boil and remove from the heat. Place in a blender and blitz until smooth, pass through a fine strainer
  • 400ml of white chicken stock
  • salt
  • sugar
  • 250g of frozen peas
Pour the pea mix into a thermomix, add the agar agar and softened gelatine and bring up to 90˚C at speed 3 and then adjust to maximum speed for 30 seconds. Pour and spread the mix evenly onto a flat tray lined with cling film. Place in the refrigerator until set and cut into 9 x 9cm squares. Set aside in the refrigerator until required
  • 1 gelatine leaf
  • 5g of agar agar
For the shiitake dust, place the dried mushrooms into a blender or spice grinder and blitz to a fine powder. This will last in an airtight container for up to 6 months
Next, place the slices of Ibérico ham into a dehydrator at 45˚C for 30 minutes. Once crispy, cut with the grain into thin strips. Set aside, along with the shiitake dust until required
Bring a medium size pan of water to the boil, add a small dash of white wine vinegar. Break each quail egg into a small dish, reduce the boiling water to a simmer, swirl with a spoon to create a whirlpool effect and drop in each egg, one at a time
Allow to simmer for 1 minute, remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and refresh in ice water for 5 minutes. Remove from the water and using a pair of scissors, remove any loose strands of egg white from around the yolk, set aside until needed
For the grapefruit segments, remove the top and bottom of the fruit and stand upright on a chopping board. Using the tip of the knife, follow the shape of the fruit and slice away the skin and the pith, turning the grapefruit as you slice
Using a paring knife, slice down alongside the natural segment towards the centre of the fruit, be careful not to cut into the core itself. Make another incision alongside the next natural segment and gently remove the wedge of grapefruit
Repeat the process for the whole fruit. Take the finished grapefruit segments and cut each into 3 small chunks. Place the chunks into a small container, pour over any excess juice to help preserve the fruit. Set aside in the refrigerator until required
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Add a small knob of butter to a frying pan and place over a medium heat. As soon as the butter begins to foam, add the diced onion and sweat for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat and cook for up to 45 minutes, or until the onions are very tender
Meanwhile, bring a pot of lightly salted water to the boil and prepare a bowl of iced water. As soon as the water is boiling drop in the broad beans for 1 minute, remove with a slotted spoon and refresh in the iced water
While the onions are cooking, add enough clarified butter to generously coat the base of another large frying pan and place on a medium to high heat. Meanwhile, place a small pot of water on to boil to reheat the quail eggs
Remove the lamb sweetbreads from the refrigerator and trim and slice into 4 neat, even portions. Season with salt and place into the hot pan, searing evenly on both sides for a golden brown finish. Place into the oven for 2 minutes to warm through
Place the quail eggs into the boiling water for 1 minute
Place a spoon of the warm sweet onions in the middle of each plate. Arrange the grapefruit segments and broad beans around the onions
Remove the sweetbreads from the oven and place on top of the onions. Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs from the water and place on top on the sweetbreads. Top with a pea square, a few pieces of dried Ibérico ham and pea shoots. Dust the whole dish with shiitake powder and serve

Steve Drake started cooking while attending South End Technical College. Only a few years later, he started working his way up the ladder at The Ritz and earned a prestigious Roux Scholarship. Now he cooks at Sorrel, a modern British restaurant in Dorking, Surrey.

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