This is from an email I recently received:
Dear Mr. Docetoni,
I would love to cook Tripes à la mode…But the process seems incredibly labor intensive and I can’t imagine cooking anything for 10 hours, especially in my oven. Do you have any advice on how to simplify the recipe?[…]
Thanks for the email. This demonstration is for you, Inquisitive Carnivore! First of all, Mr. Docetoni is my father. Call me Guy.
Ok, regarding the incredibly intense labor that goes into this recipe: It’s really not that bad. Sure, there is some prep that goes into it, but once everything is cleaned and cut, it is just a matter of assembly. Take a look at my other demonstrations; the prep for these took between 45 min to an hour. Not too bad.
As for the cooking, I propose the use of a slow cooker. I have found that the evenly-distributed heat, as well as the lengthy cooking time, low temperature, and steam created within the tightly covered slow cooker make it a perfect alternative to the traditional method of cooking Tripes à la mode de Caen. With a couple of important exceptions, the preparation of the recipe is the same in the slow cooker as it is in the oven (but easier and safer).
For this demonstration I will be using a Hamilton Beach 4.5 quart slow cooker. I have a very basic unit, with Low and High settings, and a “keep warm” setting. A low setting on a typical slow cooker is about 200°F; the high setting is about 300°F– the perfect temperature range for the Tripes à la mode de Caen.
I boiled and cut 4 lbs. of tripes, and prepped the ingredients (see recipes). I assembled the contents inside the vessel the same way as I do in an earthenware or sauce pan: ox feet and aromatic pouch in the bottom, topped with layers of tripe, onions, and carrots.
One of the benefits of cooking tripes à la mode de Caen in a slow cooker is that we can dispense with the suet lid and the flour paste (see recipes). The heat from the slow cooker is in direct contact with the food and emanates from the bottom and sides of the vessel; this keeps the top layer of our tripes from crusting, making the suet unnecessary. As the tripes cook, they release steam, which creates a vacuum seal between the lid and the rim of the crock and keeps the moisture from escaping (making the flour paste seal unnecessary).
After filling the vessel, I weighed down the contents with some thick-cut onion and a saucer, and finally added the liquid.
A note on the amount of liquid: Anytime a recipe is adapted for a slow cooker, the amount of liquid required will have to be substantially reduced. I decided to use very little liquid, and if I found I need more, I could add some boiling water. As Mrs. Docetoni always says: “It’s easier to add than to take away!” I started with only two (2) cups of white wine and found that that was more than enough. (After cooking for two hours, the level of the liquid had risen enough to cover the tripes.)
With everything assembled, I set the slow cooker to “High”. Once it came to a simmer (it took about 3 hours), I turned it to “Low” and let it cook for another 5 hours.
Look at that! Homestretch: Strain and skim the broth, discard the onions and the pouch. Separate the flesh from the ox feet and discard the bones. Cut the carrots into ¼” wedges. Reassemble everything in a saucepan. Bring to boil, add the calvados, and…..
…and there you go, Inquisitive Carnivore! I hope this helps. Let us know how it goes!
Demonstration: Tripes à la mode de Caen (Slow Cooker Edition)
By Guy Docetoni