Sweetbread( also called ris),contrary to the logical inference of the name as referring to a sweet tasting bread, is in the culinary context, the term used to refer to the soft and sweet glandular meat of calves and lambs. The glands that are mostly consumed are the thymus (the throat, neck and gullet meat) and the pancreas ( belly, heart and stomach meat). The name might have been derived from the fact that most common preparation of the meat involves breading and frying it. Although the tender meat of the young animals is commonly used in sweetbread preparations, beef and pork may also be used. Popular sweetbread recipes include baked sweetbread, sweetbread sauced in wine, fried sweetbreads, Argentino Asado, and a number of others. Sweetbreads are nutritious and are recommended for consumption by people who have problems in digesting difficult food as it is easily digested.
Origin of Sweetbread Recipes
The origin of sweetbread preparations dates back to the sixteenth century because it is during that period the term was used for the first time though the exact reason for naming the offal meat of animals as sweetbread is not known. The term sweetbread can be etymologically divided into “sweet( referring to the taste as the thymus flesh seems to be sweet in taste in comparison to muscular meat which is savory)” and “brede”( meaning meat that is roasted).
Culinary Uses of Sweetbread
Sweetbread finds wide usage in the preparation of different types of dishes. Sweet bread recipes include breading and frying the meat, usage as a filling for other dishes, in the preparation of pate, usage in grilled form as in the Latin American dish Argentino Asado, and as a bread filling or accompaniment as in some Turkish dishes.
Cuisines Commonly Preparing Sweetbread Recipes
Sweetbread was widely used in various preparations by the cuisines of the United Kingdom where the dishes made with the meat were considered delicacies and gourmet dishes. But now the soft glandular meat of the animals makes its appearance mostly in the Eastern Mediterranean cuisines such as the Egyptian and Turkish cuisines.
Preferable Methods of Cooking Sweetbreads
Sweetbread can be cooked in more than one way. Though they are mostly breaded and fried, they can be grilled too. The most common preparation of the ingredient which involves frying the breaded version of the dish requires treating the meat with salt water, poaching it in milk, drying it and chilling it. After this, the meat is breaded and fried in fat or oil.
Popular Sweetbread Recipes
Though the breaded version is the most common way of preparing sweetbread, the other versions include preparing them in white wine sauce or baking them. Preparation of the former involves first cooking the sweetbread (salt-water soaked and milk-poached with membrane removed) in milk seasoned with bay leaf and mace, setting aside the sweetbread and finally preparing a sauce with butter, flour, white wine, milk and bay leaf, and pouring it over the sweetbread.
The baked dish is prepared by first simmering the sweetbread in water till firm, draining and rolling in egg liquid and breading it, and baking the breaded meat.