Barbara Lynch's 'Last Meal'

By Edgar B Herwick III

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Sweetbreads with Chestnut Cream
By Barbara Lynch

Serves 4 to 6

Sweetbreads
2¼ pounds veal sweetbreads
3 carrots, cut crosswise into ½-inch slices
2 stalks celery, quartered
1 large white onion, cut into eighths
2 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
6 whole black peppercorns
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

Chestnut Cream
1½ cups fresh chestnuts
1 slice bacon, diced
¼ cup diced carrot
¼ cup peeled, diced celery (reserve any tender
celery leaves for garnish)
¼ cup diced onion
¼ cup peeled, diced parsnip
½ cup port, preferably ruby port
½ cup heavy cream
2 cups chicken broth (or water)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1½ teaspoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons peeled, finely diced Granny Smith apple
Fleur de sel

To prepare the sweetbreads: Put the sweetbreads in a bowl and cover with
cold water; refrigerate overnight.

Drain the sweetbreads, pat dry, and transfer to a 6-quart pot with 12
cups of water. Add the carrots, celery, onion, parsley, thyme, bay leaf,
and peppercorns. Season with salt and pepper to taste, cover, and bring
to a boil. Uncover, reduce to a simmer, and cook until tender, about 10
minutes. Set a fine strainer over a 5-quart pot and drain the
sweetbreads. Peel the membrane from the sweetbreads and pat dry;
refrigerate.

To make the chestnut cream: Preheat the oven to 350°F. With a paring
knife, score the chestnuts with an X on their flatter side and roast them
on a baking sheet until the spot where they've been scored opens up,
about 15 minutes.

Let the chestnuts cool just until you can handle them and peel away the
shell as well as the inner skin, which can be bitter. Reserve 3 of the
chestnuts and chop the rest.

In a medium saucepan, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Add
about half of the carrot, celery, onion, and parsnip (reserve the rest
for serving) and cook, stirring often, until tender and just slightly
colored, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add the chopped chestnuts and the port, increase the heat to medium-high,
and cook until the wine is reduced by half. Add the cream and the broth
and simmer until the vegetables are very tender and the flavors combined,
about 40 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Pass it through
a fine-mesh strainer into a clean saucepan, pressing on the solids with a
ladle. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If it's too thick, thin it
with a little water and taste it again for seasoning. Keep warm if
serving right away.

To sauté the sweetbreads: Season the sweetbreads with salt and pepper.
Put the flour in a shallow dish and add the sweetbreads, tossing to coat.
Shake off the excess flour and transfer them to a rack set in a rimmed
baking sheet.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add
half of the sweetbreads and cook, turning once, until golden brown, about
5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with
another
4 tablespoons of butter and the remaining sweetbreads.

Meanwhile, just before serving, finely slice the reserved chestnuts. Melt
1 1/2 teaspoons of butter in a small skillet over medium heat.

Add the reserved vegetables, apple, and sliced chestnuts and cook,
stirring, until just tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Season this "vegetable
brunoise" to taste with salt and pepper.

To assemble: Spoon the chestnut cream onto the center of each plate and
arrange the sweetbreads on top. Finish with the vegetable brunoise, the
reserved celery leaves, and fleur de sel and serve.

Reprinted from My Last Supper: The Next Course by Melanie Dunea (c) 2011.
By permission of Rodale, Inc. Available wherever books are sold.

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