Sopa de Mondongo
(Latin American tripe and vegetable soup)
6 to 8 servings
- Beef or pork tripe, cleaned and trimmed of fat -- 2 pounds
- Lemons, halved -- 3
- Salt -- 2 teaspoons
- Water -- 2 quarts
- Oil -- 3 tablespoons
- Onion, chopped -- 2
- Green or red bell peppers, chopped -- 2
- Garlic, minced -- 3 or 4 cloves
- Oregano -- 1 tablespoon
- Tomatoes, seeded and chopped -- 2 cups
- Cassava (yuca) or potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks -- 1 pound
- Sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks -- 1 pound
- Green plantains, peeled and cut into chunks -- 3
- Cabbage, coarsely chopped -- 1 head
- Cilantro, chopped -- 1 bunch
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
- Add the tripe, lemons, salt and water to a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high flame. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the tripe is tender.
- While the tripe is simmering, heat the oil in a skillet over medium flame and add the onion and bell peppers. Saute for 3 or 4 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and oregano and saute for another minute. Finally add the tomato and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Remove the tripe to a cutting board, reserving the broth. Discard the lemon halves. Cut the tripe into bite-sized pieces and return it to the broth, along with the sauteed onions, peppers and tomatoes and the cassava or potatoes, sweet potatoes, plantains and cabbage. Bring to a boil again, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for another 30 to 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through and tender.
- Stir in the chopped cilantro and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve hot.
- You can skip Step Two if you like and just add the onion, bell peppers, garlic, oregano and tomato to the pot with the rest of the vegetables.
- Meats: you can add other meats to your mondongo. One of the more popular is a pig's or cow's foot. Cook it with the tripe, then remove the skin and gristle and cut the meat into bite-sized pieces and return it to the pot with the other ingredients. Beef brisket or chorizo is also sometimes added.
- Vegetables: most cooks use whatever they have on hand. Try winter squash (calabaza), taro, small cobs of corn, carrots, chayote squash, celery. You can also stir in some garbanzos or white beans. Puerto Ricans often add olives, raisins and capers. Colombians add an extra dose of cilantro.