Slavic, Balkan, and many other agrarian cultures are famous for their nose-to-tail eating and that includes tripe, the stomach of a cow, pig, sheep or another animal, often turned into soup, rumored to be a sure-fire hangover remedy.
In Polish, tripe soup is known as flaki zupa (FLAH-kee) or just flaczki (FLAHTCH-kee), which also literally means "guts." Typically, Polish tripe soup is made with beef tripe and is considered one of the national soups of Poland, especially since it is touted to have been eaten by King Władysław II Jagiełło.
While recipes vary by region, in addition to beef tripe, vegetables, beef broth, and marjoram are included and sometimes tomatoes or tomato paste, and other spices are added. Some versions feature a clear broth, while others are creamed. This recipe is made in the Warsaw style (flaki po Warzawsku).
- 2 pounds beef honeycomb tripe
- Few pinches salt
- 1 pound meaty beef soup bones (or veal)
- 1 tablespoon salt (or more as necessary)
- 4 carrots (peeled and sliced)
- 1 celery root (cleaned and chopped, or 3 stalks sliced celery)
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley (chopped)
- 3 cups beef broth (or chicken broth)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Optional: 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- Optional: 1/4 teaspoon mace
- 1/4 teaspoon marjoram
- Pepper to taste
- Optional: 2 tablespoons butter (for creamed soup)
- Optional: 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (for creamed soup)
- Optional: 1 cup half-and-half (for creamed soup)
- Rinse tripe under cold water. Drain and place on a cutting board. Sprinkle with salt and rub into tripe to clean the crevices. Rinse again to remove salt.
- Place tripe and soup bones with enough water to cover in a large saucepan or stockpot. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt for each cup of water added. Cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer partially covered 3 to 5 hours, or until tripe is tender.
- Drain tripe and bones. Pick meat off bones, reserve and discard bones. When tripe is cool enough to handle, cut into very thin strips.
- Place tripe, meat from bones, carrots, celery root, parsley, and broth in a clean pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until vegetables are tender. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, optional ginger and mace, marjoram, and pepper to taste. Bring back to a boil and simmer 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings. Serve hot with rye bread.
Creamed Soup Variation
For a creamed soup, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan. Stir in 2 tablespoons flour to make a roux. Cook and stir until golden. Add 1 cup half-and-half and bring to a simmer. Temper the half-and-half with a few ladles of hot soup. Transfer tempered half-and-half to the soup and whisk until soup has thickened slightly.
Eastern European Tripe Soup
Tripe soups in other Eastern European and Central European countries are known as:
- Bosnia: škembić
- Bulgaria: shkembe-chorba (шкембе чорба)
- Croatia: tripice
- Czechia: drštková polévka or just drštkovka
- Hungary: pacalleves or just pacal
- Romania: ciorbă de burtă
- Serbia: škembići (Шкембић)
- Slovakia: držková polievka
But the use of tripe doesn't end with soup. There are stews made with tripe and many other Central and Eastern European dishes are stuffed with tripe.