Recipe: Lamb sweetbreads with ravioli

  • 30
  • Four
  • Medium
LAMB is a fantastic ingredient, whether for a delicious Sunday roast, lovely lamb chops, or leg of lamb with fresh mint sauce. While I love nothing more than a rump of Scottish lamb or Barnsley chops cooked with delicious seasonal vegetables, what makes the dishes stand out for me is serving them with lamb kidneys and sweetbreads. The variety of flavours you get from combining different cuts of the animal is outstanding. It might not be something you’ve cooked before, but using every part of the lamb can give you some exceptional taste experiences and these more unusual cuts can be economical and easy to prepare. At my restaurant, and at home, nothing goes to waste. The cuts of meat that some people might throw away are packed with flavour if you prepare and cook them in the right way, with a little care. The belly, the kidneys, the neck, the tongue, the sweetbreads – none of them are difficult to prepare, and once you try them, you’ll be able to enjoy a whole range of delicious dishes and recipes. You can source sweetbreads from a quality local butcher, and even some supermarkets have started to offer them as they become popular again, and we seek out those classic recipes that our mothers and grandmothers would have traditionally served for supper. Although they’re classed as offal, they are a real treasure that can bring bags of flavour to a dish like this lovely seasonal ravioli recipe. The same goes for lamb neck. Don’t be put off – lamb neck fillets are a great value cut and if you braise them gently and slowly, and pair them with lots of fresh vegetables, you can create a seasonal supper that feeds the family without blowing the budget.

Ingredients

  • For the pasta
  • 500g ‘00’ pasta flour
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • For the chicken mousse
  • 100g chicken breast
  • 2 egg whites
  • 200ml whipping cream
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp chopped tarragon
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives
  • salt and pepper
  • For the lamb sweetbreads
  • 800g lamb sweetbreads
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 50ml lamb stock
  • 1 tbsp chopped tarragon
  • 1 tbsp chopped shallots
  • salt
  • For the pea velouté
  • 400g fresh peas (podded weight)
  • 30g butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 radishes – sliced thinly (For garnish)
  • handful of pea shoots (For garnish)

Method

To make the pasta dough:
Sieve the flour into a bowl, then break the eggs into another bowl, add the olive oil and whisk with a fork. Pour the mixed egg and oil into the flour and
stir with a fork until it starts to form a ball. Remove on to a clean working surface and knead for 5-6 minutes until the mixture forms a round of elastic pasta dough. Wrap this in clingfilm and put it in the fridge to rest.
To make the chicken mousse:
Place the chicken and the egg whites into a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add the cream, curry powder, salt and pepper and pulse until mixed. Remove from the machine into a bowl. Add the tarragon and chives and set aside.
To check the seasoning and consistency of the mousse, drop a teaspoon of the mixture into salted water for 2-3 minutes. Allow it to cool and add extra seasoning if needed.
To prepare the lamb sweetbreads
Rinse the sweetbreads under cold water and leave them to soak for at least an hour to help remove any impurities. Place the rinsed sweetbreads into a pan with cold water, place on the stove and bring to a simmer. This should take no more than 5 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and leave the sweetbreads to cool in the water. When the water is cool enough to put your hand in, remove the sweetbreads and peel off the white skin. Pat dry on kitchen paper.
In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat the vegetable oil and add the sweetbreads with a good pinch of salt. Cook until they are a deep golden colour. Deglaze the pan with lamb stock and add the tarragon and shallots. Check for seasoning. Leave to cool, and keep half of the sweetbreads aside. Cut the other half into roughly 1cm dice and fold into the already prepared chicken mousse.
To make the ravioli:
Set up your pasta machine. You will only need a quarter of the pasta dough, so keep the rest clingfilmed and refrigerated for another dish. Flour a clean surface and roll the pasta out as thinly as you can with a rolling pin. Then pass it through the pasta machine until you get to the minimum setting. Cut into two long strips.
Take the chicken and sweetbread mousse from the fridge. On half of the rolled out pasta place four dollops of mousse (each the size of a golf ball) at about 6cm intervals. Brush the edges of the pasta with water, then lay the other piece of pasta over the top. Using an upside-down pastry cutter or a cup the size of the ravioli, gently form the shape and seal the two sheets of pasta together so they don’t separate when cooking.
To cut out the ravioli, take a pastry cutter half a centimetre larger than the stuffed ravioli and push down to cut. Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Discard the leftover pasta rolled out on the work surface and place the four ravioli on a lightly floured dish ready for cooking.
To make the pea velouté:
Bring a litre of water to the boil, add salt and the peas and cook for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Blend with some of the cooking water and the butter until you have the consistency you want, then pass through a sieve. Cool over a bowl of ice water so the soup keeps its lovely green colour.
Assembling the dish:
When you are ready to serve, bring a large pan of water to the boil, season and plunge in the ravioli. Cook them for 7-8 minutes, then drain. Pop the remaining sweetbreads in a heated, oiled pan until golden brown on both sides. Place the ravioli in the centre of the bowls and then pour the pea velouté around the ravioli. Add a few sweetbreads to each bowl and garnish with pea shoots and the slices of radish.

 

About The Author

Tom Kitchin

Tom Kitchin is a Scottish chef and owner of restaurant The Kitchin, where he became the youngest winner of a Michelin star. He has previously worked with several Michelin starred chefs including Alain Ducasse and Pierre Koffmann.

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About The Author

Tom Kitchin

Tom Kitchin is a Scottish chef and owner of restaurant The Kitchin, where he became the youngest winner of a Michelin star. He has previously worked with several Michelin starred chefs including Alain Ducasse and Pierre Koffmann.