Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Vegetable Tripe Soup

I knew it was going to be very cold here in New York this past weekend, so I decided to make a hearty pot of soup on Friday. I went to the butcher to look for inspiration as to what to use to make a stock, and saw a nice piece of tripe. Tripe is a cow's first stomach and in the USA is usualy sold slightly pre-cooked. It's clean, white and honeycombed in appearance.

I grew up eating Campbell's Pepper Pot Soup whose main ingredient was tripe, as my Dad was a Pennsylvania native, and I've learned that it was a favorite soup of Philadelphian's. So therefore I had acquired a taste for it, although I haven't made it in years.
Tradition says that George Washington's cook made it for the first time for the Continental Army at Valley Forge in 1777-78, during the bitter winter when supplies were low.
My husband is Italian, and his mother use to cook tripe frequently when he was a child. It became one of his favorite foods, and I knew he would adore it if I made Tripe soup, so as an early Valentine's Day treat for him that's what I decided to make. To keep it heart healthy I used quite a bit of fresh vegetables. This made a large amount of soup, and I froze half for another cold winter day.

Vegetable Tripe Soup


2 1/4 pounds pre-cooked tripe
16 ounces package cannellini beans, soaked overnight
one large onion - chopped into small pieces
four cloves garlic - chopped into small pieces (more or less to your taste)
one bag 16 oz carrots, chopped into small pieces
Four red peppers, chopped into small pieces
Four celery stalks and heads - chopped small pieces
2 bay leaves
one 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
one 32 oz organic broth -- chicken or beef, or veal - or you own home made stock of choice.
Two bunches of Swiss chard -- chopped well
6 large potatoes, diced
Red pepper -- one tbsp -- we like it hot -- use less, or none, if you don't
marjoram or oregano --one tsp dried
basil -- one bunch of leaves if fresh, one tbsp if dried
thyme -- one tsp dried
salt to taste

Take the boiled tripe and cut it into thin strips; simmer it covered with just enough water to cover it for another hour (it will shrink considerably) When the hour is almost up heat the olive oil in a large casserole or pot, and sauté the onions, garlic, celery, peppers and carrots. Strain the tripe, reserving the strained liquid. When the sauteed vegetables have become soft add the tripe. Add the strained tripe broth, and the beans which have their soaking liquid discarded, the tomatoes, and the stock of your choice. Cover and simmer over a gentle flame, stirring from time to time and adding small amounts of water if needed during simmering to keep beans and vegetable submerged, cook for about 2 1/2 hours

Remove bay leaves, add chopped Swiss chard, diced potatoes, all spices and salt to taste. Stir well and simmer uncovered another half hour, until potatoes are tender.

Serve it steaming hot, with a dusting of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
I served it with corn bread, but a big loaf of Italian bread would be nice also.

This the basic corn bread recipe that I've used for years:

Easy Corn Bread


1- 1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup corn meal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 egg whites, or one beaten egg


Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 8 - or 9 inch pan --I use my 9 inch cast iron skillet. Combine all dry ingredients. Stir in milk, oil, and egg, mixing until just dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly golden brown, and wooden tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm.

We enjoyed our soup, and I hope if you never tried tripe before you might consider it the next time you encounter it. In Mexico tripe soup is called Menudo, in Greece it would be called
Soupa Patsas, and in the Carribean you would have Sopi Mondongo. I'm sure there is a recipe for a tripe soup in almost every cuisine.
If you've eaten it, I'd love if you tell me about the version you've had, and I hope you like mine!


Junie Moon said...

I've not ever cooked with tripe before but your recipe and accompaniments sound wonderful. I also enjoyed learning about how tripe is used in other countries.

Thank you for leaving the information about preparing lobster on my blog. That's very helpful and I appreciate your kindness.

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

I think I'll pass on this one =D That is one of those like it or not foods and I don't think I have ever met a tripe I really just loooved.
On the other hand... your's may be it!

scrappysue said...

that cornbread looks delicious!

The Sporadic Packrat said...

Thanks Pat! I am already following the Irish Arts blog and have found some useful info there. Your soup sounds good; might have to try it. Thanks for commenting on my OWOH post, and good luck!

notsocrafty.com said...

That corn bread is making my mouth water. I've been looking for a good recipe for a while now.