Marry someone who gets you completely. My husband took one bite of this soup and immediately said, “I love you.” This dude gets me. That being said, this is really damn good soup, but I won’t be offended if you aren’t adventuresome enough to try a tripe soup. It can completely be made without the tripe, but if you are adventuresome, tripe is a really fun offal cut, and truly unctuous.
I love to watch travel food documentary-style shows like anything by Anthony Bourdain. There happen to be quite a few Anthony Bourdain series on Netflix and on Amazon Instant Video, and I have been binge-watching them all lately. I’m not sure how I am just finding out about the “Mind of a Chef” series, but I think it is especially fantastic.
In the first season, Chef David Chang of Momofuku is followed, and every episode he is shown making several dishes. There is a scene where they make an insane amount of stock, and he makes his with roasted pork neck and backbones… So I had to try that myself. I already have a great recipe for Roasted Pork Trotter Stock, so I essentially made this batch the same way as that one, but I roasted these glorious neck bones (that I picked up at the Asian Market near me) for about an hour at 425.
This past weekend, in between binge-watching sessions of “Mind of a Chef,” my husband and I ventured out of our apartment and stopped in at one of our favorite coffee houses in Norfolk, VA. We were both feeling a little peckish, but not that hungry. I wasn’t even going to order anything until I saw scrawled on the chalkboard menu “Anthony Bourdain’s Tripe, Pig’s Ear, and Blood Sausage Soup.” I looked at my husband, and he was already thinking about what I was thinking, “Let’s split a bowl.” Neither of us had actually eaten tripe, pig’s ear, or blood sausage before, but they were all things we had seen numerous times on his shows, and we both were game to try it.
The soup was pretty delicious, especially the offal (not awful!) parts, and I really enjoyed the tripe. It was so tender, and I knew I wanted to try making it myself. I perused the internet researching all the different types of tripe soups and stews, and I decided first that I wanted to go Eastern European for a few reasons. Firstly, I already had some delicious local smoked Polish sausages in my freezer, so that would go great. Secondly, I LOVE paprika to distraction, and the Hungarian and Czech versions both have paprika. Some versions had tomato, some hand cream, but I honestly don’t think any had potatoes, so my addition of the potatoes wasn’t super authentic, however, I think the potatoes are delicious with the sausage.
From start to finish this soup took me two days (I include making the stock in that time), albeit I wasn’t slaving over the stove that whole time. Soup that makes your significant other immediately profess their undying love for you takes a while to truly develop the flavor the best, so have some patience with this one – it is worth it! And if you must, omit the tripe if you just can’t stomach it (pun intended), and this will be a delicious sausage soup nonetheless.
Eastern European Influenced Sausage and Tripe Soup
1 pound of honeycomb tripe (found at an Asian Market)
1 pound of Smoked Polish Sausage, diced
1 red onion, small diced
1 small red bell pepper, small diced
1 small green bell pepper, small diced
3 carrots, small diced
2 stalks of celery, small diced
3 medium red potatoes, small diced
26-28 oz of crushed San Marzano Tomatoes (the tetra packs are 26.46 oz, the cans are 28 oz. Either is fine)
3 tablespoons of paprika
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
a few tablespoons of lard
10 cups of homemade pork stock, plus more for poaching the tripe
- First, poach the stock for 1 to 2 hours in stock until tender. Mine took about 2 hours. Poaching is a method in which you cook protein in a liquid that is just below the simmering point. While this is happening, you can get your mise-en-place (that means all your other ingredients) ready for the rest of the soup and take a break while the tripe finishes cooking. Once it is tender and cooked, remove it from the stock to cool. (You may discard the poaching liquid – I did.) Once cooled, cut the tripe into bite-size squares small enough to fit on a soup spoon. In fact, that’s an important aspect of good soup making — everything in the soup should be small enough to fit on a soup spoon.
- In a large soup pot, melt a little lard or cooking fat of choice, and cook the diced smoked sausage until cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, remove the sausage from the pot and reserve it in a bowl. Leave all the fat in the pan and add in all the veggies except the potatoes and tomatoes. Cook the aromatic veggies (the carrots, onions, celery, and peppers) for at least 20 minutes to develop their flavor, adding more lard if necessary so they don’t burn and stick, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Scoot the veggies to one side of the pot to clear a space, and melt about a tablespoon more of lard. Add the 3 tablespoons of paprika and the dried oregano into the hot lard, and saute the spices for a few minutes to bring out the most flavor. Then stir and fully incorporate with all the veggies.
- Add in the diced potato, the tomatoes, the sausage, the tripe, and the stock, and simmer for up to two hours to develop all the flavor. My husband and I found that the soup was truly delicious served with hot sauce, as the vinegar and the spice added a nice twang. This makes a LOT of soup, and so it is perfect for freezing. We have some in our freezer now, just waiting to be defrosted on that perfect rainy, cold day that just begs for soup.