Monday, December 6, 2010

Tripas À Moda do Porto

The story goes that when Henry the Navigator was preparing his ships to conquer the port of Ceuta in North Africa in 1415, he asked the people of Porto to donate supplies to stock the Portuguese navy and they did, so generously, that all that was left to eat was tripe. Thus, the people of Porto became known as "tripeiros", or "tripe eaters". "Tripas À Moda do Porto", or Tripe in the style of Porto, is a traditional Porto dish that we knew we absolutely had to try when we were in Porto. This we did, appropriately, at a restaurant called "Tripeiria".

It was really quite delicious. Tripe wasn't even the main ingredient, it was almost a garnish next to the white beans and the sausage that made up the main part of the stew. The stew was served over rice.

When I got home, I decided that it was time to try my hand at cooking tripe. I live in a neighborhood with a butcher that carries three types of beautiful, snowy-white tripe next to the other cuts of meat that I buy, so it was not a problem to procure some good tripe for my experiment. The recipe came out of my Jean Anderson Portuguese cookbook:

I have grown to appreciate this somewhat previously under-used cookbook more and more since our trip to Portugal. The recipe for Tripas À Moda do Porto is quite time-consuming: the tripe is first cooked very slowly in the oven for 3 hours together with aromatics, before the beans, proscuitto & sausages are added and cooked further for another hour and a half. The result is a little different from the tripe we had in Porto, being much more tomato-y than we remembered, but retains the essential character of the authentic dish. The recipe made so much tripe that we were eating leftovers for quite a few days. I forgot to take pictures the first night we had it. The picture below was taken after the 3rd reheating in the oven, after which the stew had lost a lot of liquid. It was originally more soupy, perfect over rice, like the authentic dish we had in Porto.

The wine was, unfortunately, a rather uninspiring red, one of a few bottles of Portuguese red that we had bought to try out. I was glad I got around to cooking with tripe. It isn't as scary as it might seem at first. Although, the recipe was so time-consuming I don't know if I would make it again. Perhaps for a special occasion! A dinner party, perhaps, with adventurous eaters? I told my mother-in-law, who is a pretty adventurous eater, about the dish, and even she said that it would be OK if I didn't make it for her the next time she visits!


Anonymous said...

Tripe - yuck!

But now your blog is bookmarked by me - Adi

HuxleyWuxley said...

But have you read all about the tripe dress? - it's even better.