Organ meats can be intimidating at first, especially if you’re not used to the sight or texture of certain delicacies. In our opinion, one of the most overlooked offal cuts is tripe, which is typically made from the first three chambers of a cow’s stomach (though tripe can also be made from other animals). What a piece of tripe is named depends on the chamber it comes from.
Types of Tripe
“Honeycomb tripe [which comes from the second chamber] is named for its honeycomb appearance and bible tripe [which comes from the third chamber] looks like the many folded-over pages of a book,” says Mike Simmons, the chef and partner of Cafe Marie-Jeanne in Chicago. The third cut is called blanket tripe, which is smooth in appearance and comes from the first chamber of the cow’s stomach.
Most quality butcher shops and counters will carry tripe. And if you have a good relationship with your butcher, you can likely call ahead and ask if they’ll order some and set it aside for you. “Usually it’s already cleaned but if it’s not, no worries — it’s easy,” Simmons says. All it takes is four simple steps to thoroughly clean tripe, which Simmons laid out for us here.
How to Clean Tripe
- Place the tripe in a large pot of salted water — make sure it’s completely immersed.
- Slowly bring to a boil and allow it to boil for 10-15 minutes. Remove the tripe from the water and place it on a cutting board.
- With a sharp knife, scrape gently and remove any bits that aren’t white and don’t look appealing.
- Give the tripe one final rinse and double check to make sure there’s nothing unsavory clinging to the many pockets, folds, nooks, and crannies, and you’re good to go.
If you’ve gotten this far, the hard part is over! Now, all that’s left to do is cook the tripe and then enjoy the delicious fruit of your labor. “I like to braise the tripe in a very flavorful and robust liquid, like veal stock, which complements the flavor of the tripe,” Simmons says. Here, he shares a simple recipe for Braised Tripe that makes for a hearty and delicious meal any time of the year.
Braised Tripe Recipe
- 1 large onion, cut in chunks
- 1 large carrot, cut in chunks
- 1.5 stalks celery, cut in chunks
- .5 stalk green garlic, cut in chunks
- 1 bay leaf
- .5 tsp black peppercorns
- .5 cup dijon mustard
- .25 cup dried morel mushrooms
- 8 oz can stewed peeled tomatoes
- 3 smashed cloves of garlic
- 8 cups chicken or veal stock
- 1 cup red wine
- .5 cup brandy
- 1 pound tripe
- 1 pig foot
- 1 cup fresh cleaned chickpeas
- 1 cup cleaned morel mushrooms
- Black Pepper
- Sherry vinegar
- Tabasco sauce
- Crusty bread, to serve
- Start with a pot large enough to hold the entire operation, at least 4 quarts.
- Heat a bit of butter or oil in the pot until hot and add onion, celery, green garlic, and carrot, and caramelize.
- When the veggies are nice and dark, add tomatoes, bay leaf, and peppercorns and cook for a few minutes longer.
- Deglaze the pot with red wine, and reduce until half the liquid is gone, roughly 10-15 minutes.
- Add stock and slowly bring to a boil. Once boiling, add pig foot, tripe, Dijon mustard, and dried mushrooms.
- Cover and reduce heat to a slow simmer for 2.5 – 3 hours (tripe should yield to the teeth and be soft and rich in flavor).
- Strain and reserve the liquid.
- Cut the tripe into 2-by-2-inch pieces and remove tender meat and skin from pig foot.
- Put liquid back into the pot and add fresh chickpeas and cook until soft, roughly 10-20 minutes. Add tripe and pig foot meat back into the broth, add morel mushrooms, and cook for one more minute.
- Ladle into large bowls and douse with good sherry vinegar, Tabasco, more butter, and serve with crusty bread.
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