We're resurrecting our recurring Restaurant Remix feature, this time with a food-nerd twist: All the "Organ Edition" recipes we share will be offal-based. If there's a dish you'd like us to try and recreate, email email@example.com. Happy eating!
|Photo | Drew Lazor
A watched third cow stomach never boils.
I learned as much pacing my kitchen floor as I attempted to recreate the tripe stew I first encountered at Marc Vetri
(412 S. 13th St.). I've always been fond of tripe a broad term mostly used to describe any of the three stomachs of a cow but my exposure to it prior to digging into this dish was far from elaborate: some thin-sliced omasum in a bowl of pho, some rough-chopped hunks off a dim sum cart. Amis' tripe stew, the recipe for which appears in Vetri's 2008 cookbook Il Viaggio di Vetri
, was so compelling to me because it did not seem like it was supposed to have tripe in it. A shallow, searing-hot gratin dish comes out, baked to a crusty golden brown on top; each forkful produces homey hunks of tomato, carrot, white beans and celery, and each forkful just so happens to be supplanted by supple, intensely savory strips of stomach. It's like if Fergus Henderson had sneaked into your mom's kitchen and spiked her Wednesday night casserole with quivering handfuls of tummy before slinking off into the nasty-bits night.
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Back to watching the stomach boil. This was my first time cooking tripe at home, and I learned quickly that much of the cooking time is dedicated to beating it into submission rinsing it to expel the natural funk, then boiling it in salted water for hours until it's the consistency of a beat-to-death jellyfish. This will require some patience, but I think the soulful end result is more than worth the toe-tapping.
Reticulum, aka honeycomb tripe, is the variety you should use for the recipe. It looks a bit like a shower cap. You can purchase it for very cheap (less than $4 for 2+ pounds) at Hung Vuong Supermarket
at 11th and Washington. It's shockingly white when you get it, but after working it in that salted water, it turns a sort of sallow straw color. This is what you want.
Vetri sent me the original version of his stew recipe (it makes 4 quarts and serves 8 PDF here
), but I edited it down slightly to produce about half the amount originally intended. The one thing I realized is that the canellini beans need plenty of time and plenty of liquid to cook properly, which is why I recommend holding onto all of the cooking liquid from the boiling process, just in case.
Marc Vetri's Tripe Stew, slightly tweaked (Makes 4-5 servings)
1.5 pounds fresh tripe
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 stalk celery, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3-4 cloves garlic, cut into 1/8-inch cubes
1 cup canned peeled tomatoes (with liquid)
1/4 cup dry canellini beans
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/2 medium potato peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional: grated pecorino and breadcrumbs)
Rinse the tripe under cold running water for about 30 minutes.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the tripe and boil gently, partially covered, until the tripe can be easily pierced or torn apart, about 2 hours, adding water as necessary to keep the tripe completely submerged. Remove from the heat and let the tripe cool in the liquid. Once it is cooled, remove the tripe, but do not discard the liquid. Cut the tripe into thin strips about 2 inches long.
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the carrot, onion, celery and garlic, and sauté slowly until the vegetables are glossy and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tripe and continue to sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the reserved cooking liquid (enough to just barely cover the ingredients), canned tomatoes, dry beans and rosemary. Simmer over low heat, partially covered, until the beans are tender yet firm, about 2.5 hours. Check the saucepan periodically to see if the liquid has cooked down, adding more when necessary (you will have liquid left over).
Add the potatoes and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes more. Remove from the heat and let cool, then mix in the chopped parsley.
To finish: Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Ladle the stew into a medium-size gratin or ovenproof dish and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. (We added some pecorino and an extremely light dusting of breadcrumbs, as well.) Bake until the top is golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately.