I get the feeling tripe isn’t everyone’s favorite, right? We’re talking about the honeycomb membrane that covers the interior of the second stomach of a cow, the reticulum to be more precise (I just googled all of that ok). After that… most readers have probably already left. If you’re still there, well great! It means you’re super cool and you’re not afraid of delicious stuff that let me continue with this seemingly yucky stuff. This membrane is one of the cheapest things you can buy at a butcher shop or supermarket and I’m sure the quality and freshness vary so trust your eyes and your butcher because this membrane is a bit smelly and not in a good way so you won’t be able to trust your inexperienced nose. A cow stomach is worth the effort though. It’s like a hidden treasure, buried really really deep… like super deep. With proper cooking, it can be turned into an amazing meal. Maybe it isn’t common in the US but it’s popular in Latin American, Asian and European cuisines. Guess where I’m from? I’ll give you a hint. I’m not Asian.
The finished tripe is nice and sweet and savory, rich and with a delicate texture, and reminds me of other delicious beef stews I’ve had. Not bad for an ingredient that’s about 1 dollar a pound. Now, let’s talk about the potato puree. Another inexpensive ingredient. I don’t know how much a big russet potato sells for. I’m almost certain is under a dollar, but the taste is simply amazing and if cooked with respect and flavored nicely, it could outdo the main component of a dish. I might be biased since I’m irremediably addicted to potatoes. In this case, I will say, both the protein and the starch complemented each other nicely. This is the story of how to make this dish:
There is a quick checklist on how to approach tripe cooking:
1. Rinse and scrape the tripe under running cold water (optional really…)
2. Boil the tripe in water for 30 minutes, then drain.
3. Return tripe to the pot, add mirepoix and chicken stock and pressure cook for 3 hours.
4. Otherwise, simmer covered in a regular pot for 5-6 hour.
4. Uncover and reduce the content of the pot by half.
5. Add additional seasoning and cook for a bit longer. Dijon Mustard works so well.
6. Refrigerate overnight (optional).
7. Remove tripe from stock.
8. Chop into small pieces.
9. Add to hot skillet and brown.
10. Add some tomato sauce, cream, red wine, a bit of tripe stock, reduce, done.
2 lbs tripe
6 cups of chicken stock
2 cups of water
1 onion chopped in half
10 baby carrots
1 celery stalk chopped in half
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp Pedro Ximenez Sherry Vinegar
1 Tbsp tomato sauce
1 or 2 Tbsp heavy cream
2 Tbsp burgundy wine
2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
Parmesan Horseradish Potato Puree:
1 big russet potato
1 tsp salt + more to taste
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp cream
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp horseradish sauce
To make the tripe stew.
As I mentioned before, tripe has a distinctive smell that could put you off, but if you can handle it, it will eventually go away and a nice beefy aroma will replace it. Place the tripe in a big pot of boiling water for about 30 minutes. Rinse the tripe and discard the cooking water. Place tripe back in the cooking pot. Add onion, carrot, and celery. Add the chicken stock and enough water to cover veggies and tripe, about 2 cups. Add salt. Pressure cook for 3 hours or simmer covered for 5-6 hours. After this, reduce liquids by half. Add sugar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer to a non-reactive container and refrigerate overnight. The next day, heat up the container so it goes back to its liquid state. Remove the cooked tripe and place in a strainer over the sink. After straining, cut up the tripe in small chunks. Heat up a skillet with some olive oil until oil shimmers (high heat). Add the tripe and brown, add the tomato sauce and caramelize it, you could lower the heat at this point. Add the cream, a spoon or two of tripe stock and reduce until thick and everything has a nice deep golden color. Remove from the heat. Add some chopped parsley.
To make the potato puree.
Peel the potato. Cut in medium size chunks. Place in medium/small saucepan. Fill with water to cover the potato. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer. Potatoes should cook in about 7-10 minutes. Strain but reserve about a 1/4 of a cup of the potato water. Place this water in a small container or pot, add the horseradish sauce, minced garlic, and grated cheese with about 1 tbs of cream and heat up. I used the microwave, but you can use a small saucepan or whatever works. The cheese will melt and the heat in the garlic and horseradish sauce will be tamed. Strain this through a small colander into the saucepan containing the potatoes. Add the butter and the rest of the cream and mash. I use a whisk, and whisk like there’s no tomorrow. Eventually, the puree will be smooth and creamy. If you want an extra smooth puree, you need to use a sieve or a fine strainer like a chinois. Whatever you do, do not use a blender or a food processor. As I’ve mentioned before, the starch granules will rupture and the puree will have a slimy texture. Taste and adjust the salt if needed. If the puree is too runny, place back on the stove over medium-high heat while whisking, reduce until the desired thickness is reached.
On a plate, make a nice bed of potato puree in the center. Spoon the tripe stew over it along with some of the carrots. Spoon some tripe stock over it but not too much, just enough so you get a little liquid surrounding the puree. Garnish with some parsley and that’s it. Very simple plating, but the colors will pop nicely. If you don’t like parsley, still add a leaf or two, you can remove it before eating. There’s something about that vibrant green on a deep golden stew that is so visually stimulating. Enjoy.