Roast Breast of Veal Stuffed with Sweetbreads and Herbs

Here is a very good recipe for roast veal. It requires time spent on it in preparation, but once it is in the oven, it needs little attention. Breast of lamb can be substituted for the veal, but it is fattier and needs more trimming. If you cannot get sweetbreads, use veal or lamb’s kidney, neither of which needs blanching, but the fatty core should be removed.


  • 12 oz / 340 g calves’ sweetbreads
  • lb / 1.10 kg breast of veal, boned
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 oz / 110 g fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 oz / 60 g parsley
  • handful of fresh sorrel or 4 lettuce leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 oz / 30 g softened butter
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • veal bones
  • 1 carrot, scrubbed
  • 1 onion, cut into quarters
  • 1 celery stalk, trimmed
  • ½ pt / 280 ml white wine


Soak the sweetbreads in cold water for 1–2 hours. Open out the boned breast of veal, and trim off any excess fat and gristle. Season lightly with the salt and pepper and finely grate lemon zest over the meat. Cover loosely and put to one side in a cool place while you prepare the stuffing.

Strip the spinach, parsley and sorrel or lettuce leaves from their stems, and place in a large colander. Pour enough boiling water over the leaves to blanch them, then drain them and put them in a bowl of ice-cold water for 30 seconds. Drain again and dry the leaves thoroughly by rolling them in a clean tea-towel. Chop them roughly and mix with the garlic, butter, and tarragon and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Spread this over the breast of veal, cover loosely, and put to one side while you prepare the sweetbreads.

Drain the sweetbreads and trim to remove any gristle and the membrane. Put in a saucepan, cover with cold water, add ¼ teaspoon salt and bring slowly to the boil. Hold at simmering point for 3 minutes, then drain and rinse the sweetbreads under plenty of cold running water. When cool enough to handle, lay them down the centre of the veal breast, roll up the meat and tie it with string at 1 in / 2.5 cm intervals. Put the veal bones in a roasting tin together with the vegetables and place the veal roll on top. Moisten with 4–5 tbsp of white wine. Roast in a preheated oven at 150–170°C / 300–325°F / Mark 2–3 for 3–3½ hours, moistening it from time to time with a little more white wine or water. Remove the meat from the oven, and let it rest in a warm place for 10–15 minutes before carving it. Pour off the cooking juices to make a gravy.