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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Chef Mavro offers up a delicious tripe stew

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By Wanda A. Adams
Advertiser Food Editor

While other chefs carved lamb, fried up sausages, grilled steaks and served "Kohala Mountain oysters," Chef George "Mavro" Mavrothalassitis took on the challenge of making a dish with tripe for Taste of the Hawaiian Range last month, an event that showcases grass-fed meats.

Tripes à la mode de Caen, the Norman dish that is among the most famous uses for tripe, was the first dish Mavro ever made from scratch as a young man. But he knew Islanders would prefer simple tripe stew.

This isn't Chef Mavro's exact recipe — that one makes enough stew for a Hawaiian family reunion right down to every calabash cousin — but it's close. It does use his techniques: adding whole, peeled potatoes to the stew to extract their starch and thicken the mixture without cornstarch, and treating the vegetables as "garnish," adding them toward the end of cooking to preserve their crispness and texture. If you haven't worked with tripe before, be prepared for a little odor that goes away with the first rinsing and parboiling. The prep work is worth it for the melting texture of this folksy comfort food.

Tripe, by the way, is the inner lining of the stomach of cattle, hogs or sheep. What you find in stores is mostly beef tripe. There are three types of tripe, and the one most people prefer for its tenderness and subtlety of flavor is honeycomb tripe, from the animal's second stomach. Mavro was concerned about whether his dish would cook properly at the Taste of the Hawaiian Range because he had been given not just the honeycomb but also the smooth tripe from the first stomach, which is the toughest. He wasn't sure how long it would take to cook.

You can find tripe in old-style meat shops, at 99 Ranch Market, in stores that specialize in Hawaiian and local ingredients, or you can order it from most supermarket meat departments.

Tripe Stew

  • 2 pounds honeycomb tripe
  • 3 tablespoons baking soda
  • Water
  • Hawaiian or sea salt
  • Crushed red chili flakes
  • 2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 4 whole potatoes
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 cups frozen peas

Rinse tripe well in cool water. Place in large pot with water to cover, and add baking soda. Parboil for 30 minutes. Drain tripe and allow to cool. Cut into strips.

Return to clean, large pot with 6 cups water, a teaspoon of salt and another of crushed red chili flakes, 2 cans tomato paste and 2 whole, peeled potatoes. Bring to a boil and turn down to a gently simmer; cook 20-30 minutes and test tripe; it should be tender .

Meanwhile, peel 2 remaining potatoes and cut into chunks. Peel carrots and cut into chunks. Cut celery across the grain. Immerse all these vegetables in cold water and hold until tripe is tender. Drain vegetables and add to stew, simmering 20-30 minutes, or until tender. Remove whole potatoes and discard.

Taste frequently during cooking and add salt, chili flakes and pepper as desired. If the stew isn't thick enough, you can make a slurry of 2-3 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot and an equal amount of water and stir that in, but the potatoes and the slow simmering should thicken the stew nicely.

Add peas and heat through. Serve with hot, steamed rice.

Makes 6 generous servings.

• Per serving (without rice): 300 calories, 7 g total fat, 3 g saturated fat, 150 mg cholesterol, greater than 2000 mg sodium, 32 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 28 g protein.