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.
Cut the tripe into
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,
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
Serve at once with boiled potatoes or good bread.
© 1993 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.