Bring Michelin star cooking to your own kitchen with this stellar recipe for veal tartare and sweetbreads.
250g/9oz white onions, peeled and halved
For the onion stock, preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2. Place the onions, thyme, garlic and salt into aluminium foil and wrap to form a sealed bag. Place onto a baking tray, bake for six hours.
Empty the contents out of the foil into a colander lined with muslin cloth, or a fine sieve, over a bowl, place a heavy weight on top and press for 12 hours to remove all the juices. Collect all the juices.
Place the juices into a pan, and reduce down by half over a medium heat. Dissolve the sugar into the liquid and save for later use.
For the burnt onion powder, preheat an oven to 60C/140F/Gas ¼ . Place the onions into a hot, dry, heavy based pan, cook the onions until black on all sides.
Place the onions onto a tray and place into the oven for 4-5 hours or until dry and crisp.
Once fully dried, place the onions into a spice grinder, or small food processor, and blend to a fine powder.
For the onion purée, place the butter into a separate pan and heat gently to melt (being careful not to burn the butter), add the cinnamon and onions. Cook until the onions are very soft but with no colour.
Remove the cinnamon sticks, place the onions into a food processor and blend to a puree. Pass through a fine sieve and season with salt and lemon juice.
For the sweetbreads, season the sweetbreads with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Place the duck fat into a pan and heat up to 60C/140F using a thermometer, then add the sweetbreads and cook for one hour, keeping an eye on the temperature.
Once cooked, remove the sweetbreads from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain off any excess duck fat.
Place the sweetbreads into a hot pan with a little oil and brown on all sides, add a knob of butter and baste the sweetbreads with the butter.
Drain off all the excess butter and fat, and deglaze the pan with just enough onion stock to cover the bottom of the pan, cook for 30 seconds then remove the sweetbreads.
Add the remaining onion stock to the pan and continue to reduce until it becomes a sticky, sauce-like consistency. Set aside until needed.
Roll the sweetbreads in the burnt onion powder.
For the veal tartare, mix together the diced veal and diced asparagus in a bowl with the chives and lemon juice.
Heat 200ml/7fl oz of the onion stock in a pan and reduce down until quite thick. Take a teaspoon of the reduction and mix with the diced veal, asparagus and chives. Finely grate the cinnamon stick over to taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
For the asparagus, place 1-2 tbsp of water into a pan and heat until it bubbles, slowly start to add the butter a couple of pieces at a time, constantly stirring until all the butter has melted. Add the asparagus spears and cook on a medium heat for 2-5 minutes (depending on thickness of spears) or until just soft.
To serve, place a teaspoonful of the veal tartare onto the end of a rinsed, halved cinnamon stick and garnish with wood sorrel. Make a small bed of chopped spring onions and sit the sweetbread on top, place a spoonful of onion puree onto the centre of the plate, lay two spears of asparagus along the side and dust one with burnt onion powder. Finally, lay the veal tartare filled cinnamon stick across the asparagus and finish with a drizzle of the onion stock.
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Mary Ellen McTague, James Durrant and Mark Ellis present their desserts.
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