Animelle ai Funghi Porcini
Region: Italy, Emilia-Romagna
Category: Variety Meats
Difficulty: Easy but special equipment needed and long cooking and/or non-working time
Veal sweetbreads are a firm white fleshed meat, not too strong in flavor, with a delicious taste. It needs to be soaked in water first and then lightly poached before its final cooking. It is not serve often these days although in Italy they are very popular. A veal sweetbread can refer either to the pituitary or thyroid gland. In Italy, they appear in a variety of dishes but this preparation from Emilia-Romagna is made often during porcini mushroom season in September.
[photo: Clifford A. Wright]
Yield: Makes 4 to 5 servings
Preparation Time: 2 hours
2 pounds veal sweetbreads
1/4 cup unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons dry Marsala wine
1/2 pound porcini or shiitake mushrooms, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1. Soak the sweetbreads in cold water for 1 hour. Drain, place in a saucepan, and cover with salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat off as soon as the water reaches a boil and let the sweetbreads sit in the water for 15 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Cut the sweetbread into 1-inch chunks and set aside.
2. In a skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and cook the sweetbreads until firmer, about 15 minutes, adding a few tablespoons of broth and Marsala while it cooks. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Meanwhile, in another skillet, melt the remaining butter over medium heat, then cook the mushrooms until soft, stirring, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the sweetbreads and cook for 3 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.