2453 Tripes à la Mode de Caen

In the preparation of this culinary speciality of Normandy the very common mistake is often made of using calf’s feet instead of ox feet. This results firstly in the cooking liquid becoming less gelatinous and thus not so thick, and secondly, the calf’s feet being more tender become overcooked long before the tripe has reached the state of being perfectly cooked. As a so-called improvement the use of calf’s feet thus runs contrary to the requirements of this special dish.

Another mistake frequently met with, consists of presenting the finished tripe in silver dishes; this is just as bad and illogical as presenting a fine Chaud-froid on an ordinary china dish. Because of its simplicity Tripes à la Mode de Caen should be served in special stoneware or earthenware dishes which allow the heat to be retained better. Attention should thus be directed more to the serving of this tripe very hot than to an over-elegant presentation.

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Ingredients for the complete tripes of one animal

  • 2 kg ( lb) onions stuck with 4 cloves
  • kg (3 lb 6 oz) carrot
  • 1 Bouquet garni consisting of 1 kg ( lb) leek, 150 g (5 oz) parsley stalks, 1 sprig of thyme and a bayleaf
  • 8 g (¼ oz) salt and a pinch of pepper—per 1 kg ( lb) of the tripes
  • 2 litres ( pt or 9 U.S. cups) good cider which should not turn black during the cooking. If this is likely, use water
  • 3 dl (½ pt or U.S. cups) Calvados or brandy


Preparation of the Tripe

The items used in this dish include 1) the feet of the ox and 2) the tripes, consisting of a) the Rumen or Paunch, b) the Honeycomb bag, c) the Manyplies and d) the Reed.

All of these items should be subjected to a prolonged soaking in cold running water. They should then be lightly blanched so as to clean them thoroughly and to make it easier to cut them as required, usually into 5 cm (2 in.) squares.

Take a stew pan or braising pan just large enough to hold the tripe and garnish; place in the carrots, onions, the ox feet boned out and cut in mediumsized pieces and the seasoning. Place the tripe on top with the Bouquet garni in the middle and the bones from the ox feet, split lengthways, on top of the tripe. Cover with 3 cm (14 in) thick slices of beef fat well soaked in water and finally add the cider and Calvados or brandy.

Cover the whole with a thick layer of stiff paste made with flour and hot water sealing it well to the rim of the utensil. Place in a moderate oven and when the covering of paste is well cooked after about 2 hours, cover the utensil with its lid. Continue cooking gently in the oven at a low and unvarying temperature for approximately another 10 hours.

When ready, remove from the oven and discard the paste, fat, bones, carrots, onions and Bouquet garni. Remove the tripe carefully and place according to requirements in special earthenware dishes; normally this should consist of a selection of the different parts of the tripe. Remove any fat from the cooking liquid, pass through a fine strainer and divide equally between the dishes.

Cover the dishes, reheat if necessary and serve very hot.

The proportions of the liquid used will, of course, vary with the utensil being used but in any case the tripe should be just completely covered with liquid.