OK, this one’s a doozie. No getting around it–this sh*t just sounds awful. Tripe. Tripe. TRIPE. Just ew. Tripe is the lining of a cow’s stomach. Or one of its stomachs. Apparently you can get a couple different varieties but I’m working with the plain old bleached tripe I got from my commissary. As much as I knock on a lot of the on-post services, the Ft Carson Commissary is amazing and has a better offal selection than… every other grocery store in town. In case you were wondering, I get all my offal over there. Tax free. OK I’m done.
Why Should I Eat It??
Tripe probably isn’t the most nutritious of the organ meats but it’s still pretty damn good for you. Besides a nice hefty doses of protein and saturated fat, you get a decent amount of calcium, selenium, and zinc as well. And tripe is CHEAP.
Flavor and Texture…What to Expect?
OK this was the weirdest on both fronts. I can see why some people love it and why some people hate it. Personally I really liked it but in that weird way that some people put mustard on fries or bacon with chocolate or Duncan Hines frosting on Teddy Grahams. In all fairness I might have been able to get over the whole “cow’s stomach” dealio because I happen to love haggis. Thank goodness for British friends…
Tripe is literally a sheet of meat. It’s got a ribbed (or “honeycomb” texture–actually really nice as it soaks up the flavors of whatever seasoning or sauce you use–and is sort of chewy. I had a really hard time describing the flavor as it’s almost bland with a sort of earthy undertone. Tripe by itself probably wouldn’t be much to get excited about so the flavoring you use with it is really important. Oh, and you’ll definitely want to cut it into strips or smaller pieces to make it feel less like a meat blanket. Or to stop reminding yourself you’re eating a stomach.
Two things…you MUST rinse the stuff off before cooking (since most commercially available tripe has been bleached and has a funky odor) and you MUST boil or braise it for a while. Otherwise you will have tripe that is smelly, tough, and just plain NASTY. Most recipes will call for the tripe to be boiled a couple of hours before you do anything else with it. I’d bet it does really well in a slow cooker, too. It’s worth it, though–after boiling in both water and tomato sauce I got a lucious and rich product…two thing I never thought you could say about tripe.
Today’s Recipe: Tripe in Tomato Sauce
This recipe is painfully simple and (I think) an awesome way to introduce tripe into your culinary repertoire. Minimal ingredients, easy, and delicious to eat. Because tripe was very new to me, I really wanted to showcase the tripe itself but it is very often included in more complicated recipes. If you’re a little shy to just get after a plate of tripe, I recommend cooking smaller pieces into a stew or casserole alongside more common ingredients, like I did with liver this week.
2 lbs Beef Tripe
28 oz Prepared (or homemade!) Tomato Sauce
Rinse the tripe in cold water. Cut into strips about 2-3 inches wide.
Place in a large stockpot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat slightly, and simmer for 2-3 hours.
Drain the tripe and place back in the stockpot. Cover in tomato sauce. Cover and simmer for another 1-2 hours (the longer, the better!).