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Jonathan Barthelmess' veal and sweetbread meatballs with avgolemono

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for Veal and sweetbread meatballs with avgolemono from The Apollo

By Jonathan Barthelmess
  • 45 mins preparation
  • 25 mins cooking plus chilling
  • Serves 8
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Veal and sweetbread meatballs with avgolemono
"The secret to a juicy meatball is bread," says Jonathan Barthelmess. "These are about a third bread - a 100 per cent veal meatball would be dry as hell because veal has no fat. Normally you'd use pork to provide some fat, but we've used sweetbreads instead." You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.


  • 200 gm veal sweetbreads (see note)
  • 1 kg pig's caul fat (see note)
  • 40 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 300 gm day-old crustless white bread, coarsely chopped
  • 1 litre milk (4 cups)
  • 1 kg coarsely minced veal
  • 1 cup each finely chopped mint and finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 100 gm finely grated parmesan
  • 2 tsp finely grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup finely chopped coriander
  • 100 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • To serve: micro-cress, such as baby silverbeet
  • 500 ml chicken stock (2 cups)
  • 3 eggwhites
  • 60 ml lemon juice (¼ cup)
  • 4 egg yolks


  • 1
    Refrigerate sweetbreads and caul fat separately in cold water for 12 hours, changing the water at least twice. Drain sweetbreads, blanch in a saucepan of boiling salted water for 30 seconds. Drain, refresh, then peel skin.
  • 2
    Heat butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat, add sweetbreads, reduce heat to medium and turn occasionally until just cooked through (6-8 minutes), then refrigerate until chilled (30 minutes).
  • 3
    Meanwhile, combine bread and milk in a bowl, stand until bread is just softened (30 seconds), drain and squeeze out excess milk (discard). Combine in a large bowl with minced veal, mint, parsley, parmesan and nutmeg, refrigerate until required.
  • 4
    Preheat oven to 200C. Finely chop sweetbreads, process half in a small food processor with coriander until smooth (1-2 minutes), season to taste. Add extra-virgin olive oil in a thin steady stream, process until emulsified. Transfer to a bowl, add remaining sweetbreads, mix well to combine.
  • 5
    Form minced veal mixture into eight flat patties. Place 1 tablespoon of sweetbread mixture in the middle of each patty and roll to enclose and form a ball. Drain caul fat, cut into 20cm squares and wrap each meatball completely to enclose.
  • 6
    Heat olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, add meatballs in batches and turn, shaking pan occasionally, until golden all over (2-3 minutes), then roast in oven until cooked through (10-12 minutes).
  • 7
    Meanwhile, for avgolemeno, bring chicken stock to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Blend eggwhite and lemon juice in a blender. Whisk hot stock and egg yolks in a bowl to combine, then with motor running, add to eggwhite mixture. Turn off blender, season to taste, pour over hot meatballs and serve scattered with micro-cress.


Sweetbreads and caul fat are available from select butchers and will need to be ordered ahead.
This recipe is from the May 2012 issue of
Drink Suggestion: Crisp clean rosé. Drink suggestion by Sam Christie

  • undefined: Jonathan Barthelmes