Of tripe and men

This Saturday went as planned – which is rather unusual for Bulgaria :) Early bread shopping and extensive breakfast with the newspapers.

In the end I decided to cook things separately. Most of the stomach (rumen) will be for the dogs, boiled and with rice. Just too much for myself.

The cleaning and washing took hours and I smelled completely of tripe afterwards (and still do, as does the apartment) :)

A little bit of the tripe and part of the guts I set aside for myself in another pot:

What you see here is hopefully the first stage of a killer tripe-soup. I precooked the smooth first and the second stomach and the upper guts. Took about 4 hours on small heat. I was tempted to finish it in a Laos way tomorrow, with lemongrass, ginger, lime leaves and so on. But as I often have tripe soup for late Sunday breakfast in the old Bansko town I decided to do it in a more traditional way.. Not exactly Bulgarian or Turkish but my way. With white wine and pastis instead of milk :) …but still the traditional garlic marinated in vinegar and for sure ground chillies. That will be interesting.

The calf’s head will have to wait till tomorrow as the tripe occupied my cooker nearly all day. And I will have to cook it the Bulgarian way. Sadly. Yesterday I did not pay attention but this morning I realised that the friendly “kasapin” had taken the skin with its fatty inside layer off the head. And that part is an absolute must for any kind of French or German way of cooking it. The French generally “peel” the meat (with the skin) off the head and cook only that (including the tongue and the brain from the cracked skull, of course) – but you have to be an artist with the knife for this – and I don’t have much experience with calf heads and in addition left my de-boning knife behind when I moved to my apartment (ok, ok, I am sure Maria would give it to me if I asked her).

So, I will have to cook the head the Bulgarian way. They boil the whole head in salted water until the meat comes off. Then they bake it in the oven with veggies. I will also boil it but not just in salted water but in a beef bouillon with the old-fashioned French additions for a pot-au-feu just until I can remove the meat. Then I will braise the stuff, concocting a nice sauce (hopefully). Which reminds me that I will have to buy some good potatoes at tomorrows Sunday market for a side dish.

So far I have not invited anybody to eat with me. I was thinking of sharing the lunch tripe soup with the Pirin Lodge guard on duty. But I am afraid it will be much too exotic for my local friends :)   Hmmm…

The head will also pose a problem. These days we have the “Six Nations” rugby competition and tomorrow at 5pm our time Ireland will play England. Which means I will have to be at the “Irish Harp” to watch (guess whom I will be cheering for :) )! And I am not sure if I will be in a condition afterwards to finish the cooking at the required gourmet level. Maybe better to just have another tripe-soup portion :)

Who cares! In any case I will pre-cook the head and take it apart. It will keep till Monday without problem!

Now I have to watch some films and start drinking. For my body to build up the desire for the tripe soup tomorrow for lunch with every fibre of its existence :) I call this foreplay, Bansko style!

Have a good night and don’t follow my example…








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