It says a lot about our readership that Pickled Tripe is one of the most popular recipes on Burnt My Fingers. Good on ya, mates, as I think they say down under. However, on my recent trip to Pennsylvania Amish country I discovered something I liked even better: pickled tripe en gelée, at King’s Meats in the Green Dragon Friday market.
Feast your eyes on the cubes in the above photo. It’s like head cheese, but made with tripe! Which is a conundrum because tripe contains none of the collagen found in a pig’s head that causes the bits to stick together in its final form. Plus in preparing tripe you generally discard the cooking liquid, rather than boiling it down to use as a binding agent.
Rob Handel, an local chef and forager who has come up with a number of helpful identifications and offal ideas, suggests “start by making an aspic out of other cuts- bones, feet, etc. then setting the cooked tripe into that aspic base.” Ah, but should those cuts be beef or pork? Even though it’s made from cows (a pig’s stomach has a completely different texture) tripe tastes “piggy” to me, in a good way. And I expect Amish butchers would be more likely to have pig parts on hand than beef.
While enjoying the photo, take note there are absolutely no visible signs of any flavoring agent in the gel other than a few grains of pepper. The spices were carefully strained out before cooling. I’m guessing it is a standard pickling mix plus a generous dollop of vinegar–apple cider vinegar because, again, I’m thinking about what an Amish charcutier would have available.
Has anybody seen this, or made this? If so I’d like to get your reactions and ideas. I could just jump in and start making a product like I describe above, but am humbled by the perfection of the pickled tripe from King’s. (I did ask about it on their Facebook page, but don’t expect a swift response since they haven’t had an update since 2011.) I want to get it right. Will you help?