Tripe à la Mode de Narbonnaise

Tripe in Tomato Sauce

The tripe we buy in supermarkets has been processed, that is, precooked, and should not be cooked for the 8 to 24 hours most French cookbooks recommend. Tripe in European countries has not been processed, and long cooking is therefore necessary.

Tripe is the muscular lining of beef stomach; there are four types available. We usually find tripe from the second stomach in our markets. In buying tripe look for small holes, which indicate that the tripe will be relatively tender. Tripe with big, waffled holes will be tougher and will have to be cooked longer.

Tripe is a delicious dish, gelatinous in texture, full of flavor, and very rich. Have plenty of French bread on hand.


  • 4 pounds tripe
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 10 large cloves garlic (lots)
  • Big dash cayenne pepper
  • Freshly ground pepper (lots)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 branch thyme, or teaspoon
  • 8 sprigs parsley
  • 1 (40-ounce) can plum tomatoes
  • 1 cup white wine
  • teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup minced parsley
  • Fresh basil, minced, or 1 teaspoon dried


  1. Wash tripe. Scrape with a knife to remove surplus fat. Cut off fat if necessary. Scrape across the honeycomb side too. Wash again. Put into cold water, bring to a boil, drain, wash, scrape, cover with cold water and bring to a boil again. Repeat this process, removing as much fat as possible. Cut tripe into ½ × 2-inch strips. Refrigerate.
  2. Put olive oil into a large enameled kettle, or casserole. (Do not use aluminum.) Peel garlic cloves. Cut each into about three slices. Sauté garlic in oil until soft, but do not let it brown. (When garlic turns brown it also turns bitter.) Add red and black pepper, salt, sugar, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, and tomatoes. Mash tomatoes with a potato masher, or crush with a fork before adding to the kettle. Add wine and simmer for 1 hour. Add soda. Cook another hour. (Soda removes the acid taste of tomatoes and imparts no flavor.)
  3. Discard parsley sprigs, bay leaves, and thyme branch if used. Add minced parsley and tripe. Bring just to a boil. Cover and put into a 250-degree oven. Braise, in the oven, for about 3 hours. Check the casserole occasionally to be sure it is not boiling. If it is, reduce the oven temperature. It is important that this dish not boil or the tripe will tend to become tough. (You may cook this casserole on top of the range, but oven cooking is easier when a food must not boil and must cook for a long time.)
  4. When the tripe is done, sprinkle with basil, or minced parsley. Tripe must be eaten hot. If it cools, even slightly, the fat begins to coagulate and the dish is ruined. Therefore figure out a way to keep it hot while you are eating it. In France tripe is served in special pottery pots, but it is not necessary to buy these. Use onion soup casseroles, au gratin dishes, or soup bowls. Put these dishes into the oven to heat so that they will be very hot when the tripe is spooned into them. Serve in the sauce and with plenty of French bread.