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Ethiopian stuffed tripe from Time Life's Foods of the World: African Cooking

A photo of Ethiopian-style stuffed tripe from Time Life's Foods of the World: African Cooking

spiced butter

Spiced butter (niter kebbeh), the irresistible foundation of Ethiopian cuisine.

Since I first became interested in Ethiopian food I’ve been oddly captivated by the photo on the left, a tripe stuffed with a spicy mix of chopped steak, toasted bread crumbs, and exotic spices, topped with a golden buttery spiced gravy.

But it’s been a long road. The photo in my copy of Time Life’s Foods of the World: African Cooking had no accompanying recipe; for that you had to use the spiral bound index that shipped with the book in 1970. And which I didn’t have, and couldn’t find. Until a couple of years ago when my online hunting finally paid off.

Then it was the whole three-pound cow’s stomach that proved elusive. Most tripe I buy once a year or so for a luscious Trippa alla Fiorentina comes in oddly shaped pieces not suitable for stuffing.

But fate would have it that I found a perfect piece of tripe at Hannafords recently, not 3 lbs. worth, but a one-pound pouch, so I could do a third of the recipe. So I was off and running.

the tripe pouch

The one-pound tripe pouch before cooking.

I turned the pouch inside out and boiled it for three hours until it was tender at knifepoint, then drained it and tried to dry it off as best I could with paper towels.

tripe pouch post-boil

The Tripe Pouch Post-Boil.

Meanwhile I prepared the stuffing by sauteing chopped onion, green pepper, and a serrano chili in niter kibbeh, the foundation of much Ethiopian food, a clarified butter spiced with garlic, ginger, onion, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, and other spices. I added some chopped up round steak and a bit of a spice paste made with crushed garlic, pulverized peppercorns, allspice, clove, cardamom seeds, fenugreek, and nutmeg. After the meat browned, in went some salt, a touch of soft fresh breadcrumbs, and some toasted little cubes of Pepperidge Farm white bread. the stuffing for the tripe

Then into the beef belly it all went, to be trussed up with skewers and gently placed in a deep pasta bowl with some chunks of carrot, onion, and green pepper. I dolloped the top with some more spiced butter and then with a bit of difficulty I set it up to steam (thanks, Calico, for the birthday silicone steamer!–although I doubt you would approve of my first use of it!).

the stuffed tripe pre-steaming

The tripe, all stuffed and ready to go.

tripe pre-steam #2

Back view. Or is it the front?

After 1 1/2 hours of steaming and basting, the stuffed tripe was ready. ready to eat

My husband had to get our son to baseball practice and couldn’t wait for the sauce to be made, so he dug right in (BTW, this wasn’t dinner, for that I made arroz con pollo).

first slice

The first slice of stuffed tripe, fresh from the steamer.

slice of tripe

A fine slice of stuffed tripe.

I got to enjoy my own portion a few minutes later, gilded with the buttery gravy. And it was wonderful, hearty, zippy, and flavorful. If I ever happen upon another tripe pouch I will make it again.

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I’ve been keeping a blog over at Angelfire for three years now and decided to give WordPress a try, since I like what they do with my brand new non-food blog Cast Iron Strumpet. Until I figure out how to add the archives to this location, you can find the last three years of Tripe Soup at this spot.

Last night I got a call from Antonia Allegra, the director of the Symposium for Professional Food Writers at Greenbrier. Once my heart slowed down, she told me that I had gotten two honorable mentions for scholarships for this year’s symposium. Which brings my total for this year to three. Can’t go until I win one 😦 but I’m very happy to have received a total now of four special mentions from those folks. And Ms. Allegra made my day with very kind words about my writing.

Today I will leave you with a quote from myself, from a three-year-old blog entry on why I call my blog Tripe Soup.

“I promised a few entries ago to tell you why this blog is called ‘Tripe Soup.’ Well, it began last year as an idea for a local newsletter about eating in the part of the Hudson Valley where I live. It was to have a logo … that I drew late one night after a little wine and a lot of practice…[see my website at www.jenniferbrizzi.com for the logo]

I was going to distribute my newsletter, the first issue free, in local bookstores and food stores with a tiny black lace bagful of hot pink M & Ms. It was going to be mostly about local food. But after I put a lot of thought and work and planning and pretty much laid out the first issue, I realized that I can’t take my two tots to fancy restaurants or even into food stores where a dirty little paw squeezing the Stilton would be unwelcome.

So I decided to make it a website, with my irreverent, sometimes funny, always passionate comments on food and eating, designed not to teach cooking but to entertain those interested in eating whether they cook or not. Before it becomes a website, it’s having an incarnation as a blog about succulence, savoriness and enjoying life while eating, but in essence bits of worthless, sometimes offensive rubbish…

‘Tripe’ is defined as:
1. the entrails, generally; hence, the belly, generally used in the plural (obs)
2. part of the stomach of ruminating animals when dressed and prepared for food
3. anything worthless, offensive, etc.; rubbish; trash [Slang}

I call it Tripe Soup because it’s about eating what makes you feel good, what makes your eyes, ears, nose, tongue (taste and texture) happy, not what’s trendy, chic, or LITE. Like tripe, it may shock or disgust you. It isn’t sweet and bland but chewy and full of tang. My goal is to induce drooling, to make you hungry.

The subtitle of the original newsletter was ‘Not your Grandmother’s Newsletter,’ although my focus is on the kind of food she cooked. “

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