Tripas à Moda do Porto

A bowl of tripas à moda do Porto.

Tripas or dobrada in Portuguese cuisine is beef stomach, and in the form of tripas à moda do Porto (tripes Porto style, with white beans, rice and carrots) is considered the traditional dish of the city of Porto, whose inhabitants are informally known as tripeiros. It is a typical and usual dish across many different regions of Portugal and is most widely known outside Porto as dobrada.

The path from my Wikipedia journey to this recipe is a little less direct than usual. I’m still working my way through the Feijoada page, and at the end of a list of dishes that are thought to have similar roots, like Cassoulet and Fabada Asturiana, it says “and the feijoada of Minho Province in Northern Portugal.” I can’t find any recipes for a feijoada specific to that region, and what information I can find says that it’s just the normal Portuguese feijoada with white beans instead of red. However in my searching for such a recipe, this one kept popping up. It’s not called feijoada, but it’s got all the elements; the beans, several types of meat and sausage, a few vegetables, served over rice… So I decided to go with it.

Tripas, or tripe in English, is the lining of a cow’s stomach. (It can also come from other farm animals, but beef tripe is the most common.) Not something we eat much of in the United States these days. I think that even when it was something that was commonly available at your local butcher it was more likely to be purchased as dog food than human food, but in some parts of the world it’s considered a delicacy. Probably the most famous tripe dish is menudo, a soup from Mexico.

The legend around this dish is that in the 1450s, there was a secret fleet being built in Porto for Infante D. Henrique to conquer Ceuta. The story claims that the people of Porto voluntarily provisioned the fleet with all the good food in town, which sounds like the people in power spinning PR to me. Whether voluntary or forced, the result was that the people of Porto were left with offal to eat, and even earned the nickname “triperos” or tripe eaters. Of course the modern dish has a number of ingredients (including the beans) that originated in the New World, so the original dish was likely pretty plain boiled tripe served with black bread.

Tripe come in four types, depending which of the cows four stomachs it comes from. The first stomach produces smooth or “blanket” tripe. The second stomach is called “honeycomb”- it is covered in a honeycomb cell pattern. The third stomach is called “book” tripe, and has many thin folds or flaps, while the fourth stomach is called “reed” tripe, and consists of smaller, thicker folds. All the recipes I looked at were in Potuguese, and the wording that my translation app returned didn’t quite match up with English terminology, but I think book and reed tripe are the traditional ones to use. One of my local grocery stores actually had honeycomb tripe in the freezer, so I used what was available. (I believe that honeycomb tripe is usually used in Menudo, and that particular grocery store seems to be the one that tries to cater to what few foreign immigrants we get in Duluth.)

As you would expect, stomach lining requires a lot of cleaning to be edible. The good news is that in any tripe you are likely to find in this country has already been cleaned, and boiled, so my step of scrubbing with salt and lemon, and several washings is probably unnecessary. That said, I did it anyway. If your tripe is not white you will need to spend time cleaning it.

I’m not going to lie, I’m not really a fan of tripe. It’s not terrible (I’m willing to try it in other recipes, and maybe even revisit this one at some point) but it’s got a distinct flavor and a weird, soft yet rubbery texture that I’m not really enjoying. I’m not sure if longer cooking would reduce the rubbery factor or not.

The other wierdish ingredient in here is veal feet. Much like pork trotters, these are mostly for flavor and mouth feel- there’s probably even less edible meat on a veal foot than on a pork trotter. Now, I have to admit that I couldn’t get my hands on veal feet (not something my local butcher stocks, and the few places I could find them online were selling wholesale quantities), but I ordered beef feet (presumably from fully grown cows rather than veal calfs) from White Oak Pastures*. I have changed how I cook this ingredient in the recipe compared to what you see in the photos. Originally I just browned the foot with the beef and chicken and did all the cooking in the pot with the other ingredients, but as we know from cooking with pigs trotters, feet do best with a long cooking time rather than the 30 minutes or so I allotted, so I’m changing the recipe to simmer the foot with the tripe first. There really isn’t much meat on a cows foot. Maybe with several hours of simmering some of the tendons, etc, would have become edible, but I pretty much treated it as flavor- I picked off a couple bites worth of meat and threw the rest away before serving.

Finally, you’ll notice I forgot the morcilla (blood sausage) in the pictures. I did go back and add it in to the rest of the pot, but didn’t take more pictures.

This would, of course, traditionally be made with a Portuguese chourico. I think it is also is another recipe that would traditionally have had the whole sausage, big chunk of ham, etc, thrown in the pot and cut into serving pieces when it was cooked. I used a Spanish chorizo, and chose to cut most items before I cooked them for speed and flavor.

Tripas à moda do Porto

Serves: 6-8
Prep: ~30 Minutes
Cook: 2:30-3:30
Total: 3-4 hours

650 g white beans

1 ¼ kg tripe

1 veal foot

4 Tablespoons olive oil
4 Tablespoons lard
95 g bacon, diced
200 g beef, in 1-2 inch pieces
½ chicken, in serving pieces

1 large onion, diced
250 g chorizo, sliced
200 g ham, diced

1 ¼ teaspoons cumin
2 ½ teaspoons paprika
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf

125 ml white wine
2 medium carrots, diced

1 morcilla sausage

Black Pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
Parsley, to taste

2 tomatoes, diced
½ bunch cilantro
½ liter beef broth
2 large cans white beans, in place of dry
1 pork ear, salted over night and cooked with the tripe. 

Pick over your beans for bad beans or foreign objects. Rinse, drain, and cover with several inches of cold water. Leave to soak over night.

Thoroughly clean the tripe. Rub with lots of coarse salt and lemon juice, wash in several changes of cold water and finally in hot water. Place in a large pot with the veal foot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, skimming any scum from the water. Drain and rinse again with cold water. Boil again in plenty of salted water, reduce heat and simmer until tripe is tender, about 1 hour. Remove tripe and continue to simmer foot for 1-2 more hours. Cut the tripe into bite sized pieces and set aside. 

Meanwhile, drain the beans, cover with about an inch of fresh water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until tender. 

Heat olive oil (or lard) and bacon in a heavy pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Cook until bacon has rendered, then use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon and set it aside. Working in batches if necessary, brown the beef and chicken in the fat. Set aside. 

Add the onion to the pot and sauté until it begins to brown. Add the chorizo and ham and sauté for a few more minutes. Add cumin, paprika, garlic and bay leaf, and stir for 30 seconds. Deglaze with white wine, then return the bacon, beef, chicken and the veal foot to the pot, along with the carrots. Add a little of the bean cooking liquid, cover the pot and simmer for about 5 minutes. 

Add the beans and tripe, along with enough tripe and foot cooking liquid to just cover. Simmer for another 30 minutes or so until everything is cooked. Add morcilla sausage for the last 10 minutes or so. 

Season with salt and pepper, cut morcilla into serving pieces, and serve over white rice. Garnish with parsley. 

*I receive no compensation for mentioning this product.

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