James' main course

Blitz Spirit

Roasted loin, braised cheeks, sautéed sweetbreads, beans, mushrooms and toast

Serves 4


For the blanquette

1 onion, roughly chopped

1 leek, roughly chopped

2 sticks celery, roughly chopped

1 bulb garlic

½ bunch parsley, stalks and leaves

1 bunch tarragon, stalks and leaves

1 bunch thyme

2 bay leaves

20 coriander seeds

10 white peppercorns

300ml/11fl oz white wine vinegar

750ml/1 bottle white wine

4 English Rose veal cheeks

2 litres/3½ pints veal stock

1 litre/1¾ pints chicken stock

500ml/18fl oz double cream

Large knob of butter

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 baby leeks

8 baby onions

8 baby turnips

8 baby carrots

For the beans, mushrooms and toast

400g/14oz green beans

400g/14oz broad beans

300g/10½oz dried haricot beans

300g/10½oz dried butterbeans

300g/10½oz girolles mushrooms

300g/10½oz chestnut mushrooms

150g/5oz unsalted butter

Reduced veal sauce from blanquette

1 bunch parsley, chopped

400g/14oz English Rose veal sweetbreads

300g/10½oz sourdough breadcrumbs


For the English Rose Veal loin

1 English Rose veal loin

200g/7oz unsalted butter

1 clove garlic

1 sprig thyme

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. For the blanquette, caramelise the onion, leek, celery and garlic in a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the parsley and tarragon stalks, thyme, bay leaves and spices. Deglaze with the vinegar then add the white wine and reduce. While the wine is reducing, seal the cheeks in a separate pan then add them to the reduced wine. Cover with the stock and simmer for 4-6 hours on a low heat. When the cheeks are really tender and soft, remove from the stock. Pass the stock through a chinois, or fine sieve, and reduce by half. Keep half the stock to one side for the beans. To the remaining stock, add the cream, a large knob of butter and seasoning. Put the cheeks back in and finish with chopped tarragon and parsley and the baby vegetables.

2. For the beans and mushrooms, blanch and refresh the green beans and broad beans. Soak the white beans and butter beans in water overnight. Cook the white beans in water with garlic and salt for approximately 40 minutes until tender. Cook the butterbeans in the same way for approximately 30 minutes. Sauté the mushrooms in a pan with a knob of butter. Add the mixed beans, a couple of ladles of the reduced veal sauce, then finish with the chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper.

3. For the veal sweetbreads and breadcrumbs, in a hot smoking pan, sear the sweetbreads for a minute each side. Remove from the pan and rest. In the same pan, fry the breadcrumbs until crisp. Finish with salt and chopped parsley. Add the sweetbreads back to the pan.

4. For the loin, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. In a hot heavy pan, seal the meat all the way round for 2 minutes each side in foaming butter. Add the clove of garlic and the sprig of thyme, then put in the oven for about 3-4 minutes. Turn the loin then put back in the oven for about 2 minutes. Rest for 5-10 minutes.

5. To serve, make a nest with the beans, mushrooms and sweetbreads. Carve the loin and place on top, then scatter over the breadcrumbs. In a casserole dish on the side, serve the veal cheek blanquette stew.