Last week Randy asked me this about tripe, “I see this all of the time in the grocery store and I have to be honest, while it sort of scares me, it also fascinates me. Is there a way to cook this so that is actually tastes good? Is it healthy? It certainly is cheap.”
Tripe seems to be making a comeback in the culinary world. You can cook it to make delicious and very inexpensive dishes but it takes a bit of time. I immediately thought of my friend Jean Anderson and asked her for some information to help me answer his question. Jean has written about tripe in several of her cookbooks and told me that tripe is the lining of the stomach of ruminants such as sheep, goats, and beef cattle. Many people use the lining of the first three sections of the stomach but Jean recommends the lining of the second section, known as honeycomb tripe as well as pocket tripe from the lower end of the second section. She says that tripe is available pickled, canned, and fresh. Even the fresh tripe needs a lot of additional cooking. Purchase 1/4 to 1/2 pound of tripe per person to be served. When using fresh tripe, remove and discard all fat, rinse it thoroughly in cold water, and cut it into manageable pieces; although it has already been partially cooked, you will need to simmer it, covered, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours until it is tender before using it as directed in a recipe. You will find many delicious ways to serve tripe in Jean Anderson’s Foods of Portugal and The New Doubleday Cookbook. As for nutrition, it’s not a big hitter. A quarter pound of raw tripe contains 17 grams of protein, 4 1/2 grams of fat (2 1/3 grams of which are saturated), not carbohydrate or fiber, 306 milligrams of potassium, 52 milligrams of sodium and some trace minerals.