Tripe shops are becoming a rarity. Years ago specialist shops sold and dressed tripe among other now unusual animal parts like cow heels. My late father-in-law, Fred, liked to remind me of these shops. Tripe was one of his favourites but Doreen, like most wives probably, wasn't prepared to cook it for him. Whenever I got round to it, it really brought a smile to his face. He would explain to me about thick seam, thin seam and blanket tripe and how it would be eaten as it was with a sprinkling of vinegar and salt.
Most tripe you buy has been washed in citric solutions to make it completely white, and boiled to rid it of the unappealing brown colour and sometimes off-putting taste. Properly cooked with wine and cream it's not something you should put off trying.
4 medium-sized onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1tsp chopped fresh thyme
60ml white wine or dry cider
1 litre chicken stock (a good cube will do)
1kg tripe, washed and cut into 6-8cm pieces
2tbsp double cream
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Melt the butter in a thick-bottomed pan and gently cook the onions and thyme with a lid on until soft. If the onions are beginning to colour add a tablespoon of water to the pan and stir well. Stir in the flour and cook on a low heat for another minute. Gradually add the wine or cider and chicken stock, stirring constantly. Bring to the boil, add the tripe, season with salt and pepper and simmer gently for 1 hour until tender. A little more stock or water should be added if the sauce is getting too thick. Different types of tripe will have different cooking times so keep an eye on it and cook it for a bit longer or shorter as necessary. Finish with double cream and re-season with salt and pepper if required. Serve with mashed potato.