Cow tripe… it sounds kind of weird, I know, but trust me, it is such a delicious dish…
I grew up eating this food; my grandma, aunt and mother (the women at my childhood home) were never shy to introduce us, los niños, to the traditional cooking from their childhood.
My grandma was born in a small village called Jaqué, at the province of Darién. I only visited once when I was a child, but that was not a problem for my family, they brought Jaqué to us “city kids”
and therefore we enjoyed a lot of weird things that probably many kids didn’t, like turtle eggs for instance (I know, not cool today. And pretty disgusting back then to be honest…).
But actually mondongo is very popular through out the country and it’s the best way to trick your kinds into eating a thing that otherwise they’ll run from screaming! I loved mondongo when I was 5 and I love mondongo now that I’m… not five anymore (yeah, like I’m going to tell you!). It isn’t too complicated to cook (although it takes a lot of chopping), but all these years I’ve shied away from the challenge, until now. And it worked wonderfully!
I took a few shortcuts that probably the women in my family never knew back then. For instance, I used my pressure cooker to soften the tripe and pig’s tail and it took less than 30 minutes. Also, I didn’t have recao verde, so I substituted with other herbs at hand and added a little bit of this and that to make it look more like the one my mother used to cook.
Today’s recipe is a mix and match of recipes from the internet, cook books, friends and even a postcard my mom sent me once! Either way, I would like to thanks my friend Yaquira; we were classmates in high school back in Panama and now she’s happily married with a sevillano and lives in Sevilla with her beautiful family. It was she who ignited the spark on me to make this dish and also gave me her recipe, adapted to the Spanish markets. Thanks a lot my friend!
Ok, lets get this party started!
- 1 kg cow tripe, clean and diced or cut in stripes
- 1 salted pig’s tail
- 1 chorizo
- A piece of smoked pancetta (about the size of the chorizo)
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 green pepper, chopped
- 1/2 red pepper, chopped
- 1/2 leek, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 3 or 4 potatoes, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 medium can of tomato sauce
- 3/4 cup green peas
- 2 small ripe tomatoes, chopped
- Coriander, cumin, curry, paprika, guindilla, salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil
Wash the tripe with lemon juice and water.
Place the pig’s tail, bay leaves and mondongo in a large pot and cover with water. Cook until soft. This step could take up to 1 1/2 hour, but you may use a pressure cooker and it will take about 20 to 25 minutes from the moment the steam starts to exit.
Meanwhile we will start our sofrito. In a large pan heat enough olive oil to sauté onion, garlic, peppers, leek and carrots; once that is cooked, add the fresh tomato and stir a bit, then add the tomato sauce and the seasoning, stir a little bit more, add chorizo and pancetta, and simmer for 5 minutes or so. Set aside.
Once the mondongo is soft, incorporate to that pan (or P.C.) potatoes, carrots, peas and the sauce me made before with the veggies. Give it a stir and cook at low heat until the potatoes and the carrots are soft and the sauce starts to thicken a bit.
Allow it rest a few minutes before serving. The natural side dish to this recipe is white rice.
I hope you like it!
NOTE: There’s a version of this dish which is called “mondongo a la culona“, something like “big butt tripe” and it is typical from the caribbean coast of Panama, mainly Colón, that includes pig knuckles and feet and white beans (wikipedia). But I think that nowadays everybody calls mondongo from Panama in the same way, so enjoy this Big Butt Mondongo!!