Tripe in Orange Gravy

Hi, y’all. I’ve been away awhile, summer laziness I suppose. Who wants to cook in this heat?!

This next recipe is not a popular one. Tripe is definitely an acquired taste, one usually acquired in childhood by way of deception. The first time I saw this jiggly, textured meat my natural reaction was skepticism. So my parents fixed that by telling me what I was about to put into my mouth was “chicken!” And people wonder why I have trust issues. =).
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All kidding aside, I am now grateful in my later years to have been exposed to “weird” foods, which aren’t weird at all, just un-American.

So here’s my homage to my daddy’s tripe.

Ingredients:

–Tripe (2-3 lbs, cut into narrow 1.5 inch strips-see pictures)* BEST PURCHASED FRESH AT AN ASIAN OR GOURMET SUPERMARKET, OR A BUTCHER, WHERE TRIPE IS MORE COMMONLY SOLD. THE RUN OF THE MILL FROZEN TRIPE SOLD IN YOUR KEY FOODS OR WALDBAUMS ARE POOR QUALITY; THEY WILL HAVE A RUBBERY TEXTURE WHEN COOKED AND MOST OF THE TRIPE’S VOLUME DECREASE VIA WATER LOSS FROM BEING FROZEN. AVOID IT.
–1/4 cup white onion, diced
–1/4 cup celery, diced
–1/4 cup carrots, diced
–1/4 cup bell peppers, diced (optional)
–1/2 cup chicken broth (have extra on hand in case dish loses too much liquid during cooking)
**(SUB TIP: THE WATER THAT YOU RINSE THE TRIPE IN CAN BE RESERVED AND
USED IN PLACE OF CHICKEN BROTH IF LIQUID IS NEEDED DURING COOKING)**
–1 tsp olive oil
–1/2 cup tomato sauce
–1 tbsp tomato paste
–Two medium russet or red skin potatoes, cubed (don’t chop too small because you don’t want them to cook before the tripe is cooked, rendering them texture-less)
–One cup of peas (frozen or fresh is fine, just keep cooking times in mind; fresh takes less time)
–1 or 2 Bay leaf
–Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

–Give your sliced tripe a good rinse, and set aside. (SUBSTITUTION TIP: THE WATER THAT YOU RINSE THE TRIPE IN CAN BE RESERVED AND USED IN PLACE OF CHICKEN BROTH IF LIQUID IS NEEDED DURING COOKING). That would be the gross looking second picture.
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–Peel and cube your potatoes and set aside.

–In your pot, add your olive oil. It is very important not to add more oil than you need to saute your chopped vegetables because the tripe is very fatty and releases quite a bit of liquid on its own. It is better to start with less liquid and add more as you need it.
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–Bring the oil to medium heat, and toss in your diced onions, celery, carrots and peppers if you opted to add them. Toss in your bay leaves and add some salt and pepper. Saute this base until it is fragrant and soft (approximately 2-3 minutes). It will cook later so no need to over cook now.
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–Add in your tomato paste, tomato sauce, and half (1/4 cup) of your chicken broth or cooking liquid. It is better to start with less liquid and add more later, but use your discretion. Stir this mixture well over medium heat, bring to a bubble.
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–Toss in the potatoes, give it a good stir, simmer for 2-3 minutes, then toss in the tripe. You generally want to start the potatoes just a bit sooner than the tripe. Tripe is oftentimes parboiled and therefore will cook at the same rate, if not faster than the potatoes. Check the texture of the tripe and use your judgment.
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–Bring mixture to a simmer and cover. Bring heat to medium low.
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–Check on the dish in about 2 minutes, you should see the tripe has decreased in volume while the liquid has increased in volume. Stir it and keep a close eye. With tripe, there is a balance that needs to be achieved. The goal of that balance is not to overcook the tripe to the point where it essentially “melts” due to its high fat content. You also don’t want to undercook it to the point where it will be hard to chew. Practice is the key with this dish.
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–Continue to reduce the dish which thickens the sauce, add cooking liquid or chicken broth if your dish is not cooked to the right texture and your liquid gets too low. All the while, keep adding salt to taste.

–When the dish it finished, toss in the peas last. If they are frozen, run some warm water over them so that they release less liquid into the dish. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then get ready to chow down!
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The end result should be stew like, with the tripe having shrunk to about half its volume, and the sauce a deep, reddish orange. The starches from the potatoes should have given the gravy a thick, rich and velvety texture. It is lovely to eat on its own, but pairs well with rice and pinot noir! Enjoy xx

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Looks a bit like chicken tikka, right? Haha.

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