Sauté of Lambs’ Sweetbreads with Peas and Mint


This is a classic spring dish using the sweetbreads of the new season's lamb, at its best in April or May when all the ingredients will be in top condition. Lambs' sweetbreads are much cheaper than those of veal, but just as delicious. Sweetbreads are the thyroid glands of the animal and should never be frozen.


  • 300ml/½pt Lamb Stock
  • 675g/ lb lambs' sweetbreads
  • 450g/1 lb small peas in the pod
  • 55g/2 oz butter
  • 12 mint leaves (any type of mint other than spearmint)
  • salt and pepper flour, for coating


  • roasting pan
  • slotted spoon
  • wooden spoon
  • saucepan
  • large sauté pan


Mise en Place

Make the Lamb Stock as described or defrost it if made earlier and frozen.

Prepare the sweetbreads: wash them thoroughly, ideally by leaving them under cold running water for as long as you can (doing this for an hour or two while you are making the stock would be ideal). Put them in the saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Immediately drain and refresh in cold water until cool enough to handle. The fat and membrane that hold the lobes together will now be opaque. Pull these off (they come away easily). Put the cleaned and drained lobes in the fridge until needed.

Blanch the peas in boiling salted water for 2 minutes, drain and refresh in cold water.

Holding Point – you are now ready to cook and everything can be held in the fridge for several hours.

Just before cooking, cut the sweetbreads into bite-size pieces and roll in seasoned flour.


Melt 30g/1 oz of butter in the pan and sauté the sweetbread pieces to brown them lightly.

Add another 15g/½ oz of butter, together with the peas, mint leaves and the stock and simmer together for 3–4 minutes.

Finally swirl in the remaining butter and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.


Serve at once in hot soup plates, either alone as a first course or with fresh noodles as a main course.