Grilled Sweetbreads with Chili Butter


Most everyone these days cooks sweetbreads for a finished dish from the raw state, a practice that shortchanges the sweetbreads and gives them a bad reputation. But if you braise them first, on a flavorful bed of aromatics like mirepoix and fresh herbs, the sweetbreads take on a more complex flavor as well as a smooth and unctuous texture. It is best to cook the sweetbreads the day before serving them. I developed this dish for the Santa Fe Bar & Grill. If you do not want to cook French fries, cooked new potatoes that have been rolled in olive oil and chili powder and then grilled would do well.


  • 4 large braised sweetbreads
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon or thyme leaves
  • 4 large potatoes
  • 2 quarts peanut or vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup ancho chili puree
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup salsa


Cook the sweetbreads. When they are cool, wipe them dry and put them in a bowl. Add the olive oil and chopped tarragon, toss together, and let marinate for 1 hour.

Peel the potatoes and cut them by hand or with a machine into -inch-diameter fries. Hold them in water.

Start a charcoal grill or heat the broiler. Heat the oil to 375°F. Heat the ancho puree and whisk in the butter. Keep in a warm place.

Season the sweetbreads and grill over a medium fire until the sweetbreads are heated through and golden brown on the outside, about 8 minutes on each side. When you put the sweetbreads on the grill, drain the potatoes and spin them dry. When they are thoroughly dry, fry them in a basket in the hot oil until crisp, about 5 minutes.

Serve the sweetbreads on a bed of the salsa surrounded with fries. Pour the chili butter sauce on the sweetbreads.