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February 9, 2010

I seem to have been spending a lot of time thinking about meat lately. Which is unusual for me – I don’t eat much meat at all, perhaps once a week. But there is just so much scope in the kitchen with meat, and I feel I have barely scratched the surface of all that I’d like to try. One of my (very) loose new year resolutions was to try new things, particularly get to grips with the gaps in my meat knowledge. I’ve cooked most obvious roasting/stewing cuts before, so I want to explore the more esoteric bits and processes – offal, head meats, trotters, ears, tails, sausage making and curing. 

I firmly believe that it is right to use up every piece of an animal: it is efficient with resources – the less food that is thrown away, the less that is needed to be grown, and thus the less impact there is on the environment; secondly, it is respectful of the animal to ensure that the most value is garnered from the premature end to its life. It is therefore doubly important to try to use up the less popular pieces of carcass which are so often being thrown away.

And so it is that my attention is turned to the next item on my offal to-do list: tripe. Not the most appealing of the organs, it must be said, and not entirely surprising that liver, hearts and kidneys have all been ticked off first, some time ago. The pale, folded, honeycomb is not the best looker on the slab, wobbling gently next to the livers and hearts. Factor in its slightly faecal odour and you have a pretty unattractive starting point for a meal. But I like a challenge, and I am convinced that it can be made delicious, even if that means a recipe which tones it down (or even, perish the thought, tries to hide it a bit). I’m not sure I can quite face the pale, insipid sounding tripe in milk as my first go at it, and so I think I will try using the pincer attack of deliciously browning frying and gentle slow simmering in a tomato sauce. It’s a classic Italian way of dealing with the stomach, and it sounds like it might just be very delicious. The tripe is sliced finely with onions, and fried in a hot pan with butter to give it some colour, before deglazing with wine and adding tomato sauce. This is then simmered very slowly, for a very long time, before serving with tagliatelle. 

I’m salivating already…

One Comment leave one →
  1. Nigel Legg permalink
    February 20, 2010 11:51

    Hope your tripe was as good as it sounds. For me, it’s one of the best bits. In Turkey they have a hot (with chillies) tripe soup for breakfast – excellent against the hangover!

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