Sweetbreads à la Crème

James Beard

Author and Educator

Since sweetbreads are among the most delicate of foods, they require subtle treatment. Many old recipes called for piquing or larding them, a process which in the days of haute cuisine made an enchanting-looking dish but is quite unnecessary today. Probably the oldest way of doing sweetbreads was creaming them. This version is a typical one from around the turn of the century, when cream sauces were much used in our cookery.


  • 1 pair sweetbreads
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups rich cream sauce
  • Patty shells or toast cases


Blanch and trim the sweetbreads and cut into small dice. Sauté the mushrooms and sweetbreads in butter for 4 to 5 minutes and combine with the rich cream sauce. Heat through and correct the seasoning. Spoon into hot patty shells or bread cases and garnish with tiny sprig of parsley.


12 hors d'oeuvre