I’m not sure how to get into this post, except to channel the hubby.
This is not a broth, it’s a soup.
This is not a soup, it’s a stew.
This is not a stew, it’s a symphony of savory flavors that titillate on your palate and leave you wanting for more.
This is a dish I love and have loved since childhood. This is also one of those dishes I don’t eat freely just anywhere. It is something Linz vowed never to eat, but now begs for it. Preparation for this one is important and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Whenever I make it, I do so in large quantities because I’d rather get the prep done and move on, but also because we fight over every little bite of it.
The dish is Mondongo aka Tripe Stew. But see, I think tripe is an icky sounding word, which is why I had such a tough time starting this post. Let’s find out about the main ingredient.
You get tripe from an animal’s stomach; the stomach’s lining has a couple different chambers. Commercially available beef tripe is usually the honeycomb and flat tripe variety. It should be cleaned with great care and rinsed a few times, this will prevent any undesirable odors when cooking it.
Preparation and cleaning.
You need to remove any excess fat attached to the tripe. It’s easiest to buy the tripe in a large piece, this will make cleaning it much easier. I use a knife for this process. For this recipe, I used 3 lbs of the flat + 1 lb of the honeycomb tripe.
Once you have removed the excess fat, rinse it a few times. Usually I will submerge it once in water with 2 tbsp white vinegar. Rinse with clean cool water. Then again, but this time submerging in water with the juice from 1 lime/lemon. Rinse and drain. It is now ready to cut into pieces about the size of the top of your thumb–1 inch or so.
In a large stock pan, add 1/2 of a whole onion, 4 cloves of garlic–there’s no need to peel either. Also add 5 whole cloves, 10 peppercorns, 1 tbsp salt, 2 tsps Jugo Maggi OR Worcestershire, 2 tsp crushed oregano, 4 bay leaves, 5 culantro leaves OR a good handful of cilantro, stems and all. Add the tripe over this, and a 3 inch piece of salt pork or 4 strips of bacon. Add water to cover it all, bring it to a boil, lower the temperature to a slow simmer and allow it to cook for 1.5 hours. At this point it will still be quite al dente, not edible yet. Remove it from the heat, drain, rinse and remove all the aromatics. Set aside.
Optional: If you’d like, you can also add pig’s feet to the mondongo. In that case, you’ll want to rinse the pig’s feet by submerging them in warm water with vinegar, then giving them a good rinse with cool water. Cook them separately using the same aromatics used for the tripe, if you want to preserve the difference in flavors between the feet and tripe. OR simply add them to the same pot you’re cooking the tripe in. Cook the feet about an hour, they will still be tough. Rinse and set aside.
Now for the good stuff, this is where the stew begins. Oh joy!
Mondongo a la Culona
4 lbs cooked tripe
1 lb cooked pig’s feet
1/4 cp salt pork or bacon, cubed
2 tbsp olive oil
2 lg onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cps carrots, chopped small
1 lg red bell pepper, chopped
3 bay leaves
4-5 culantro leaves OR 1/2 cp cilantro, chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsps Jugo Maggi or Worcestershire
1 tsp beef bouillon
1 1/2 tsps sugar
1 tsp habanero sauce
1 28 oz tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cp olives
1 cp beer or white wine, optional
1/3 cp Parmesan cheese, grated
In the same stock pot you boiled the tripe, heat the oil and add pork fat, onions, garlic, bell pepper and carrots. Allow it to cook until they begin to soften. Add the culantro, bay leaves, tomatoes. Then add the habanero, Jugo Maggi, sugar, tomato paste, salt, bouillon and beer. Check your seasonings, and if happy, add the tripe and pig’s feet. Make sure you stir it well and that the liquid covers the contents of the pot. Add water if necessary. Bring it to a boil, then lower temperature and allow it to simmer slowly.
Stir it every once in a while, but you can pretty much forget about it for about an hour. At that time, add the olives and allow it to simmer uncover for another 30-40 minutes or until the tripe is VERY tender. If you used the pig’s feet, you can pull them out once tender and take the meat off the bone, then add it back into the stew.
If the broth is too runny, mix 2 tbsps cornstarch with about 1/4 cp water and stir it in. Make sure you allow it to boil before turning off the heat.
Serve this with rice, you will love it.