po Kate Gricine
I've named this recipe Croatian Tripe Stew po Kate Gricine, because this my mum's recipe, one that she learnt how to make from her mother growing up in Vrsi. Why Kate Gricine, well my mum's name is Kata and to identify whose family she belongs to, they have family nicknames in Vrsi and she belongs to the Gricine family, she would be Kata Gricinka.
There is something amazing to me about this village. You walk the streets and think about how your mum used to play in these streets, how she would walk to school, go to church, play, hang out with friends. Growing up with cousins, all living a few minutes walk away. You visit the cemetery and you are related to most of the people buried there. You walk up the street and your mum's childhood best friend wants to meet you even though she hasn't seen my mum since she left Croatia in 1968, and she invites you over and she shares fond memories of your mother and her as kids, it's special. The older women in the village who all knew your mother say dobro jutro, as you walk to the shops to buy your kids freshly baked Croatian doughnuts, they all know you as Kate Gricine's daughter, you're name doesn't matter, what matters is who you belong to.
Back to the recipe, it always amazes me how older people knew how to cook amazing dishes. There was no cookbooks or google searches back them. It was all recipes passed down for generations, with everyone modifying or improving them as they cooked it. For instance my mum remembers her mum making this dish, so she now makes it from memory, but if we have newer ingredients for example carrots now that she didn't have growing up, she adds it, so the recipe evolves, but the recipe is still true to it's origin. My grandmother my mum recalls was an amazing cook, I never got to try her food, but my mum always describes how her home made bread was amazing, how she loved eating her homemade pastas, lazanje or tarce. For some of my cousins who did visit Vrsi while my grandparents were alive they got to eat her peci paje, fried bread. So now I spend time asking my mother what did my grandfather love to eat, what did my grandmother cook and I'm cooking them and writing down these family recipes. My daughter to has recently taken an interest in writing my mum's and my mother in laws recipes down. She is watching them cook and taking notes. Then cooking their recipes.
What I truly love about this dish is now my kids are eating this dish, something that has been in the family for generations. That's special and it connects us all to this village in Croatia, even though we weren't born there.
Now tripe when cooked properly is soft and delicious, so many people say it's chewy, it really isn't when cooked properly. My daughter is the only one that doesn't love it, but she loves the sauce, so while the rest of us enjoy the whole dish, she will happily eat the sauce with bread.
What is tripe, it is the lining of a cows stomach. I know it doesn't sound great, but made this way, it is delicious to me. It's something I grew up on, it is something I love to eat.
My mum uses her homemade pasta sauce. But if you don’t have it in your freezer like I do, use tomato passata, or tinned tomatoes or a plain tomato pasta sauce.
This is a family recipe, it's treasured in my house, I hope when you cook it to, you love it like we do.
4.5kg honeycomb tripe
½ lemon sliced, thinly sliced
2 fresh bay leaves or 1 dried bay leaf
1 stick celery
For the sauce:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1½ large brown onions, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, trimmed, finely diced
1 medium sized red capsicum, deseeded, membrane removed, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small red chilli, finely chopped, optional
80g finely diced speck, optional
2/3 cup dry white wine
400g bottle tomato passata
1 tablespoon vegeta
4 large potatoes, peeled, cut into bite sized cubes
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste
Thoroughly wash the tripe.
Place the tripe in a large pot, add the lemon slices, bay leaf, onion and celery stick. Top up with water to cover, season with salt. Place over a high heat, bring to the boil, simmer for 45 minutes. Once cooked, remove tripe from water, discard water, allow tripe to cool.
Cut the tripe into 2cm wide bite sized strips. Set aside until needed.
For the sauce:
In a large pot add the oil, place over a medium heat. Add in the onion, carrot, celery and capsicum, sauté 5-6 minutes. Add in the garlic, chilli and speck, sauté 3-4 minutes, until your vegetables have softened.
Add in the white wine, passata and vegeta, cook, stirring about 5 minutes, season with salt and pepper. Add in the tripe, potatoes and parsley, add water to just cover all the tripe in the pot, stir, bring to a simmer, cook, partially covered, about 1½-2 hours. The tripe is ready when it has softened and isn’t chewy. You also want the sauce to cook long and slow and thickens, my mum always says a sauce is not done until the oil rises to the surface.
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