Slow-Cooked Breast of Lamb, Sweetbreads and Golden Sultanas


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Today's special: A new take on bistro food

Today's special

By Anthony Demetre

Published 2008

  • About

Get the butcher to remove the bones from the lamb breast, but do ask him to save them as you will need them for the cooking liquor. It is important here to use a pan that is just the right size to hold the lamb breasts; it cant be too big, otherwise the braising stock will be very dilute and so wont have much flavour.


  • 2 breasts of lamb, bones removed but reserved
  • 8 garlic cloves, pureed.
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 100 g butter
  • Couple of splashes of olive oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • 200 ml dry white wine

For the Lamb Sweetbreads

  • Knob of butter
  • Splash of olive oil
  • 200 g lamb sweetbreads, blanched and outer membrane removed
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Handful of golden sultanas


Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas 2.

Smear the flesh side of the breasts with the garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. Roll the breasts and tie them so they each resemble a Swiss roll, the skin side outwards.

In a pan just big enough to hold them and which also has a tight-fitting lid, melt 50g of the butter with a splash of olive oil. Colour the breast rolls in this until nicely golden all over, this could take 15 minutes or so, and the slower it is done the better, as this helps render the fat needed for the next stage. Take out the lamb and set it aside.

Add the sliced onions, fennel seeds and herbes de Provence, and cook until the onions are very soft, about 15 minutes.

Place the breasts back in the pan on top of the onions, then add the wine, lamb bones and enough water to come halfway up the lamb. Lightly season the breasts, put the cover on, pop into the preheated oven and cook for about 2 hours or more. The lamb should be tender to the touch. Lift the breasts out and keep in a warm place until needed.

Reduce the braising stock until you have about 200ml. Strain through a fine sieve, pushing all the juices from the onions, etc. through. Set aside.

While the breasts are resting, prepare the lamb sweetbreads. In a non-stick pan, melt the remaining butter with a splash of olive oil. Increase the heat and sauté the seasoned lamb sweetbreads until golden. Add the honey and caramelize a little, then add the vinegar, followed by the sultanas and 50ml of braising stock. Toss the sweetbreads and sultanas together; this will coat and glaze everything. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, and serve alongside the breasts.

With this dish we serve a vegetable purée, such as the root vegetable purée, and some sautéed seasonal greens.