Tripe Gratin

Tripe is the stomach lining of a ruminant - a beast which chews the cud and which has no fewer than four stomach compartments. The best tripe is called ‘honeycomb’ and you can find it in some supermarkets and many butcher’s shops, though it is less common than it used to be. When cooked, it produces a rich and unctuous dish.

Tripe is one of those things, like andouillette sausages, that people either love or hate. The British have traditionally cooked tripe with milk and onions or leeks, but it has never been something that featured on restaurant menus until French bistro influences began to have an impact.

Tripe is always bought dressed, which is one of the problems with buying it in Britain because it tends to be over-boiled and bleached, with no flavour. Ask your butcher to check out what tripe is available in the market if he does not stock it. Most butchers appreciate your interest and enter into the challenge of searching out unusual cuts with enthusiasm. Otherwise Halal and Chinese suppliers often have good tripe.

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Ingredients

  • 1.35kg/3lb honeycomb tripe
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 3 onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • bouquet garni of bay leaf and parsley stalks
  • 1 bottle (750ml/27fl oz) of dry white wine or dry cider
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 30g/1 oz Reggiona Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper

Utensils

  • large pot
  • 4 or 6 individual gratin dishes grater
  • baking sheet or roasting pan large enough to hold the gratin dishes

Method

Mise en Place

Cut the tripe into 2.5cm/1 in squares • Peel the vegetables and make a mirepoix.

Cooking

Put the tripe and vegetables in a large pot Add the bouquet garni, season and cover with the wine or cider. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 3 hours.

Allow to cool a little, but before the tripe sets apportion individual servings in the gratin dishes.

While it cools, preheat the oven to its highest setting. Plunge the tomatoes in boiling water for 30 seconds and refresh in cold water. Peel, deseed and dice them.

Scatter the diced tomatoes over the tripe in the gratin dishes and shake the dishes gently to mix the tomato dice in.

Place the gratin dishes in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, until bubbling hot Scatter freshly grated Parmesan over and bake until lightly browned.

Serving

Serve at once with boiled potatoes or good bread.