Monday, June 21, 2010

What about some offal? Boiled tripes in tomato sauce

Tripe dishes are made with the stomach of various ruminants. The most common type of tripe is beef tripe from cattle. Like many predators, our Paleolithic ancestors probably ate plenty of offal, likely including tripe. They certainly did not eat only muscle meat. It would have been a big waste to eat only muscle meat, particularly because animal organs and other non-muscle parts are very rich in vitamins and minerals.

The taste for tripe is an acquired one. Many national cuisines have traditional tripe dishes, including the French, Chinese, Portuguese, and Mexican cuisines – to name only a few. The tripe dish shown in the photo below was prepared following a simple recipe. Click on the photo to enlarge it.

Here is the recipe:

- Cut up about 2 lbs of tripe into rectangular strips. I suggest rectangles of about 5 by 1 inches.
- Boil the tripe strips in low heat for 5 hours.
- Drain the boiled tripe strips, and place them in a frying or sauce pan. You may use the same pan you used for boiling.
- Add a small amount of tomato sauce, enough to give the tripe strips color, but not to completely immerse them in the sauce. Add seasoning to taste. I suggest some salt, parsley, garlic powder, chili powder, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
- Cook the tripe strips in tomato sauce for about 15 minutes.

Cooked tripe has a strong, characteristic smell, which will fill your kitchen as you boil it for 5 hours. Not many people will be able to eat many tripe strips at once, so perhaps this should not be the main dish of a dinner with friends. I personally can only eat about 5 strips at a time. I know folks who can eat a whole pan full of tripe strips, like the one shown on the photo in this post. But these folks are not many.

In terms of nutrition, 100 g of tripe prepared in this way will have approximately 12 g of protein, 4 g of fat, 157 g of cholesterol, and 2 g of carbohydrates. You will also be getting a reasonable amount of vitamin B12, zinc, and selenium.