As regular readers of this blog will know, I’m a big fan of those under-appreciated variety meats. Trippa, or tripe, is certainly no exception. Here at Memorie di Angelina, we’ve featured tripe recipes from Milan, Rome and Florence.
Today’s recipe comes from Calabria. Trippa e patate alla calabrese, or Calabrian Style Tripe and Potato Stew, is essentially tripe and potatoes simmered in tomato sauce. So far so typical of many if not most Italian tripe dishes. But what sets this recipe apart from the others is its typically Calabria spiciness. A peperoncino or two goes in, of course, but that’s not all. The recipe calls for a good dash of polvere di peperone dolce, or sweet pepper powder, which infuses the dish with a distinctive earthy flavor. And to finish things off, in go bits of peperoni cruschi, sun-dried red peppers.
This layering of spices makes for an incredibly tasty dish. And one that’s quite unusual for Italian cookery, which normally values simple, clean flavors over complexity. But that difference is the charm of this unique dish.
To pre-cook the tripe:
- 1 kilo (2 lbs) tripe, partially pre-cooked
- A small onion, cut in half
- A small carrot, cut into lengths
- A stalk of celery, cut into lengths
- A spring of parsley
For the braise:
- 1 red onion or 2-3 spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- A bay leaf
- A sprig or a pinch of dried oregano (see Notes)
- A good pour of red wine
- 2-3 Tbs Calabrian sweet pepper powder
- 1 small can (400g/14oz) of tomatoes, milled or crushed
- 1 dried hot red pepper or a (small) pinch of red pepper flakes
- 500g (1 lb) yellow fleshed potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- Olive oil
Optional finishing touch:
- 3-4 peperoni cruschi (sun-dried peppers), soaked until soft and broken into pieces (see Notes)
If you’re tripe isn’t fully pre-cooked (see Notes), place it in a large pot with the onion, carrot, celery, salt and enough water to cover. Simmer for a good hour or more, until almost tender. (Or use a pressure cooker, using the “stew” function or set at high pressure for 20-30 minutes.)
Drain the tripe and run fresh water over it. Leave it to cool and drain in a colander. When the tripe has cooled off, pat it dry with paper towel and cut it into bite-sized strips. Set aside until needed.
Now, in a terracotta or cast iron pot, gently sauté the onion in abundant olive oil until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, bay leaf and oregano and give it a stir, let everything sauté gently for just a minute, then add the tripe and give it a stir, too, so it’s well-covered with the olive oil and aromatics, seasoning with salt as you go. Stir in the wine and let it evaporate, then sprinkle in the sweet pepper powder and stir, so that the tripe is entirely coated with it.
Add the tomatoes to the pot and enough water (or, if you prefer, broth) to barely cover the tripe. Cover and simmer until the tripe is fully tender.
When the tripe is nearly tender, add the potatoes along with the peperoncino. Top up with water if needed and continue simmering until the potatoes, too, are tender. If using, mix in the pieces of peperoni cruschi to the pot a few minutes before the end of cooking.
Let the dish rest off heat for 10-15 minutes, then serve.
Trippa e patate alla calabrese is quite easy. And like a lot of Italian recipes, it’s almost infinitely adjustable to your liking. Add more or less potato, more or less tomato, turn the spiciness up or down. And so on. Admittedly, it does call for a good number of ingredients that you’re unlikely to find in the average supermarket. So here are a few tips on those unusual ingredients and where to find them:
As mentioned in this post, tripe comes in different types, corresponding to the the four chambers of a cow’s digestive track: three “pre-stomachs”—rumen, reticulum and omasum—and the actual stomach of the cow, the abomasum. And the recipe that inspired me (see below) calls for three different types, but you can make this dish with more or less any type of tripe, including the relatively easy to find “honeycomb” or the reticulum. I made today’s dish with the smooth skinned rumen. Like a lot of variety meats, tripe is becoming harder and harder to find these days. In the US, “ethnic” markets, in particular Asian and Latino ones, are your best bet. And if you’re lucky enough to have a real butcher near you, they may have it or be able to special order it for you.
In Italy, tripe is often sold almost fully pre-cooked, so it only needs perhaps 30-45 minutes simmering. Here in US, tripe is “semi”-pre cooked and you never really know how long it’s going to take to cook. I’ve suggesting pre-cooking the tripe for an hour to start (or 20 minutes under pressure) but depending on the source, it may take upwards of two hours or more. The tripe I worked with for today’s recipe took a good hour under pressure. Of course, if you like, you can also simply simmer the tripe in the tomato sauce for that much longer. But pre-cooking has the added advantage of removing any gaminess from the tripe.
Polvere di peperoni dolci
The Calabrian sweet pepper powder that gives this dish such a unique flavor profile can be found online. It will remind you of Hungarian paprika and Spanish pimentón. But, as the name implies, this one has a certain sweetness to it, even more so than sweet paprika, and only a hint of spiciness. Like sweet paprika, it is made by drying sweet red peppers and then grinding them into a fine powder. There is no smoking involved. It’s worth a purchase (it’s quite reasonably priced) but in a pinch, you could use sweet paprika. I’d avoid pimentón, as delicious as it is, as it would give the dish an uncharacteristic smokiness.
The other characteristic ingredient is peperoni cruschi, or sun-dried peppers. The peppers are placed on cloths for three days in a shady and dry place, then tied up and hung up to dry some more, traditionally on windows, balconies and walls. They are typical of the cooking of Basilicata and Calabria, and are more or less impossible to find in here in stores here in the US. They can be found online, but at exorbitant prices and Rosetta Costantino points out, not really worth it.
If you can, use sprigs of dried oregano rather than the usual kind you’ll find in small jars. Again, Greek oregano can be purchased online. You’ll be amazed at how much more fragrant it is!
Sfizi di Calabria
I took inspiration for this recipe for trippa e patate alla calabrese from one of my favorite Youtube channels, Sfizi di Calabria hosted by a fellow named Gianluca. Here is the video if you want to check it out. It’s in Italian, but especially having read the recipe above, you should be able to follow along just fine, even if you don’t understand the language:
As you will see, I’ve made a few tweaks to the recipe in the video., including making the peperoni cruschi optional. Gianluca calls them fundamental to the dish, but truth be told, most recipes I’ve seen for trippa alla calabrese don’t call for them.
Trippa e patate alla calabrese
For pre-cooking the tripe
- 1 kilo 2 lbs tripe, partially pre-cooked
- 1 small onion cut in half
- 1 small carrot cut into lengths
- 1 stalk of celery cut into lengths
- 1 spring of parsley
For the braise:
- 1 red onion or 2-3 spring onions peeled and finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- 1 small bay leaf
- A sprig or a pinch of dried oregano
- red wine
- 2-3 heaping Tbs Calabrian sweet pepper powder
- 1 small can (400g/14oz) of tomatoes, milled or crushed with your hands
- 1 1 peperoncino (small dried hot red pepper) or a pinch of red pepper flakes
- 500g 1 lb yellow fleshed potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
- olive oil
Optional finishing touch
- 3-4 peperoni cruschi (sun-dried peppers), soaked until soft and broken into pieces
- If you're tripe isn't fully pre-cooked, place it in a large pot with the onion, carrot, celery, salt and enough water to cover. Simmer for a good hour or more, until almost tender. (Or use a pressure cooker, using the "stew" function or set at high pressure for 20-30 minutes.)
- Drain the tripe and run fresh water over it. Leave it to cool and drain in a colander. When the tripe has cooled off, pat it dry with paper towel and cut it into bite-sized strips. Set aside until needed.
- Now, in a terracotta or cast iron pot, gently sauté the onion in abundant olive oil until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, bay leaf and oregano and give it a stir, let everything sauté gently for just a minute, then add the tripe and give it a stir, too, so it's well-covered with the olive oil and aromatics, seasoning with salt as you go. Stir in the wine and let it evaporate, then sprinkle in the sweet pepper powder and stir, so that the tripe is entirely coated with it.
- Add the tomatoes to the pot and enough water (or, if you prefer, broth) to barely cover the tripe. Cover and simmer until the tripe is fully tender.
- When the tripe is nearly tender, add the potatoes along with the peperoncino. Top up with water if needed and continue simmering until the potatoes, too, are tender. If using, mix in the pieces of peperoni cruschi to the pot a few minutes before the end of cooking.
- Let the dish rest off heat for 10-15 minutes, then serve.
Delicius recipe, thank you! 🙂 Wishes from Lithuania!
Thanks so much! F
This looks so good, but I’m not a big fan of tripe. That said, if I was going to eat it, this would be how I’d want it prepared! 🙂
That’s good to know… 😉
Love to see recipes like this, offal is so underrated like tripe, once prepared right they do great wonders like this recipe.
I can’t agree more, Raymund!
Frank, I’ve seen tripe many times in the grocery store-no clue how to prepare it. The recipe you posted looks like the perfect dish to introduce us to a delicious way to enjoy tripe.
Hope you like it, Velva! Definitely worth a try. 🙂
Based on how I was raised and fed, I thought I’d eaten just about every part of every edible animal. However, I’ve never had tripe. And that’s after years in Texas. So I really need to make this. Thanks!
I do hope you like it, Mimi! Tripe is definitely worth a try. It doesn’t have that mineral taste that other organ meats can. After all, like the heart it is an actual muscle. The main complaint you’ll hear is, it can be tough, but that’s just a matter of cooking it long enough.
Personally, I’ve never had the stomach (ha ha) for trippa. My Mamma makes it and everyone who is into trippa raves about it. She makes it with tomato sauce but no potatoes. I am glad there are people appreciating these ‘quinto quarto’ meat parts. I will have to watch Gianluca’s video just for fun. Ciao, Cristina
Ha! I think you’ll get a kick out of GianLuca. He’s quite the charmer.
My husband loves tripe, his mother used to cook it for him every once in a while. She would also make something entirely different for her and I. 😊 I’m sure he would enjoy your version.
Nice to know, Karen! If you do give this a go, let us know what your other half thinks.
Ah, I do love Calabrian recipes – the spice is a fun way to mix things up a bit. I do have to admit that I’m not a huge tripe fan. I’ve tried it, and it’s just not my thing. But you’re making me rethink it here as it looks fantastic! And what would we do without the internet for those hard-to-find ingredients?? Thanks for opening my eyes to a new recipe here, Frank!
Well maybe this is the recipe that will change your mind about tripe? The sauce really is super-tasty and makes the most of tripe’s earthy flavor but also “tames” it for those who are a bit reluctant about variety meats…
I used to love tripe as a child, the texture was addicting. Hungarians cook it in a tomato-red pepper base with potatoes. We didn’t have it often because my Dad couldn’t stand it. I’d love to try it again but sadly JT would have none of it.
That Hungarian version sounds quite nice. And coincidentally, this dish has a flavor that’s vaguely reminiscent of Gulash, from the sweet pepper powder. Too bad you’re not in the company of other tripe lovers…
We are both big fans of tripe, and it is pretty easy to find here in our Asian and Latina markets. Mostly, it’s honeycomb, but as long as that works we will be fine. Thanks for the link to find a sweet Calabrian pepper. It sounds worth having some. We can’t wait to try this, Frank!
Honeycomb should work just fine. Hope you like it, David!
You should see the smile on my face ! Mention ‘tripe’ and ‘spice’ to me in the one sentence and I’ll come running !! Great and simple recipe I cannot wait to try . . . I would certainly precook my own tripe and have no difficulty accessing such from my butcher and oft even from the supermarket but it is all honeycomb !!! I learned my usual recipe as a child from a Frenchwoman in the Black Forest region in Germany – cooked in the oven in lots of red wine and ‘Sauerbraten’ additives. Yours is just that tad different to make the next meal very interesting !
Then you should really enjoy this dish, Eha. That Sauerbraten version does sound quite interesting, too. I’ll need to look into it…
It’s been ages since I’ve had tripe, and this looks like such a wonderful way to prepare it. I’ve never cooked with Calabrian sweet pepper powder — need to get some. It sounds wonderful. Amazon is such a great source for ingredients! Although I’m pretty sure I can get this locally — I live reasonably close to some terrific specialty food stores. Anyway, super recipe — thanks.
I do heartily recommend that sweet pepper powder, it’s really quite delicious. And if you can find it in stores, you’re lucky to be living where you live!
That looks delicious! I haven’t eaten much tripe and normally I find it too chewy, but I’m determined to find a recipe that suits me. I was admiring the tripa in the Boqueria market on Wednesday – there are still a few stalls with a full range, next to cow heads, feet, testicles, brains, etc. I am considering cooking tripe in a pressure cooker, since it does an excellent job tenderising octopus. BTW, there are two regional pimentóns – the ones marked de la Vera (in Extremadura) are smoked and the ones from Murcia are not.
You’re so lucky to live in a place where head to tail eating is a reality not just a “foodie” concept! Anyway, do try this way of doing tripe, it might do the trick for you. The pressure cooker really does a good job of tenderizing it in less time than it would otherwise take. And thanks for the heads up about pimento. I didn’t know about the Murcia variety which is unknown on these shores, afaik.
I’m sure that there is a tripe dish out there for me – hopefully this is the one! After all, I love the classic Catalan Cap i Pota – a stew of Calf’s head and feet.
I love tribes! This looks like a very delicious way to prepare them.
Thanks! Nice to know there are other tripe lovers out there… 😉