Terrine of Veal Sweetbreads

Terrine de Ris de Veau

Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Simple French Food

By Richard Olney

Published 1974

  • About

The mode is now on the decline (chicken in vinegar, bass in pastry, and duck with green peppercorns having risen to stardom) but, during the 1960’s, sweetbread terrines proliferated on the menus of France’s fashionable restaurants. They were all poor, vapid things, underseasoned (except for one master who leant heavily on the cayenne) but, otherwise, mysteriously defying analysis: white, parboiled sweetbreads trapped in a white and remarkably insipid sort of panade—wrapped in their white cloaks of pork fat; the only relief for the eye was the caramel color of the chopped commercial jelly garnish and, for the palate, there was none.

Finally, I think that sweetbreads lend themselves best to hot preparations, but the idea of a sweetbread terrine has always appealed to me—it still does—and I am convinced that a respectable result depends on their being first braised in a richly flavored stock. The fragility of sweetbreads cannot permit their being mixed roughly into the general composition as one does with the rabbit. For variation, add to the forcemeat a handful of chopped spinach (first parboiled for a couple of minutes, refreshed under cold running water, and squeezed repeatedly to rid the mass of all possible liquid) or a half cup of stiff duxelles, a chicken breast, skinned and cut into pieces, or, as in the preceding recipe, skinned and coarsely chopped pistachios. A sweetbread terrine is accompanied to perfection by a sorrel mousse.

Tinned truffles, the container of which is filled to the brim with a brownish liquid, have been boiled in water before being sterilized and rarely retain much perfume. The best conserves contain very little liquid—the fresh truffles are sterilized directly with only a small addition of fortified wine, usually Madeira.

The following proportions will give two 1-quart terrines.