Cow Tripe Soup-Italian Style
Yesterday, my next door neighbor who was originally from Italy surprise my wife and I with cow tripe soup that she cooked. She said she just makes this soup once and a while, but she was very grateful with us taking her out to the Casino every other week so she makes the soup as a special treat. I once mentioned to her that in the Philippines, one of my favorite dish is cow tripe cooked in tomato sauce with garbanzo beans and plantains.
I also know that the best tripe soup is the Caribbean version that a former college mate once prepared during one of our pot luck parties while I was still in graduate school. I also am aware that tripe has to be pressured cook so it will be tender or boil for at least two hours. During the boiling process, the fat that floats at the top of the pot is removed so that it still be a healthy meal for people who are overweight, diabetics or have high blood pressure like myself and my wife. Here's the recipe that my Caribbean friend gave me. He said this recipe was from his mother a native of Jamaica. The following recipe will served 6 and takes about 3 to 4 hours to prepare.
2 Tsp oil
1 cup diced onions( preferably sweet onions such as Vidalia)
4 sprigs fresh thyme, divided
2 lbs cow tripe, cut up
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. pumpkin (calabaza squash), cut into large chunks
2 lbs half-ripe plantains, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch
8 -10 okra
Heat oil in pressure cooker. Add onions and saute until translucent, 3-4 minutes
Add 2 sprigs of thyme and saute for 1 minute. Add tripe along with salt and pepper to taste and saute for 4 minutes. Add 6 cups water, stir and cover pressure cook and let cook for 50-55 minutes. Time begins from the first whistle.
Add enough water to make soup, cover pot and pressure cook for 6 minutes. Time begins from the first whistle. Release pressure cooker valve to let out steam and open pressure cooker. Add pumpkin, plantains and remaining thyme. Cook until plantains are almost melting. (Do not close pressure cooker at this stage, just rest the cover on top of the pot).
Add okra and dumplings to pot, cover and let cook for 7-9 minutes or until dumplings are cooked thoroughly. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Stir and serve.
The Philippines-Italian version is much simpler. Instead of plantain, my neighbor used potato cubes and no squash and okra are in the recipe. The pure Filipino version is very similar to the Caribbean recipe, but instead of okra, garbanzo beans are used. This soup is one of my favorite dishes. It is considered a main dish in the Philippines, not just a soup. There is a restaurant in Marinduque that prepares a delicious version of this tripe dish. Have You tasted a tripe dish?
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