Chef Cédric Béchade from the Auberge Basque, in Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle, invites us to discover a recipe mixing sweetbread and Basque cider: tradition, noble product and modernity… perfection in a dish.
Cider: a Basque tradition
Cider is an ancestral tradition which has been observed for centuries in the Basque Country.
Around the month of February, the Txotx begins, i.e. when the barrels are opened to celebrate the new cider.
The word Txotx (pronounced “tchotch”) comes from the Basque word “zotz” meaning “little branch of a tree”. In the past it was used to describe the small piece of fashioned wood used as a cork or stopper on barrels.
Nowadays, the word Txotx is the name given to the ceremony which summons and brings together people around a barrel to be served with cider.
Ingredients for 6 people
3 veal sweetbreads 1 garlic clove
1 green part of a leek 1 bay leaf
A few carrot peels
20 cl dry cider (Basque) 100 g liquid cream
300 g chestnut mushrooms or ceps, girolles, black trumpets, etc. 5 cl olive oil, rapeseed oil or other
20 g soft butter
Sweetbread trimmings (fat scratchlings) 2 branches of tarragon
Fill a saucepan with water, add the peeled garlic clove, the green leek, the bay leaf, the carrot peels and the onion cut in quarters. Bring to the boil then leave to simmer. Add the sweetbread and poach while simmering for 10 minutes. Drain and sieve the stock, then reduce it 2/3. Add the cider and reduce by half, add the cream and reduce to a sauce-like texture, correct seasoning if need be.
Wash the mushrooms and chop if necessary, then sauté them slightly in the oil. When they have steamed, add the soft butter, once they are perfectly coloured, remove them. Deglaze the stir-fry with some stock to add the mushroom juices to the stock.
Chop up sweetbread pieces into 20-30 g sizes, set aside. Crush the small pieces very finely, then sauté them in the oil you wish. When they are well browned add a dollop of butter to finish off caramelizing. Drain and add the chopped tarragon. Season.
Heat the sauce gently, add the sweetbread to warm the ensemble, present them in a dish and add the mushrooms and ciccioli
- Cook the sweetbread so that its texture is soft yet still firm.
- Food & Wine pairing: Topa/Condrieu craft Basque cider, Stéphane Ogier, La Combe de Malleval 2015