Patsas

For the first time since I came to the US, I finally managed to find goat/sheep tripe at my local Mediterranean store yesterday. So I bought a kilo of it, which is enough for 5 cooking sessions (at 3-4 servings each). All this quantity only cost me $10, which is of course super-cheap for 15-20 servings! The butcher at the store knows me well now. I’m the only one it seems who buys all these odd animal parts…

The idea was to make “patsas”, or as otherwise known in the Balkans, “İşkembe” soup. It’s a traditional soup made from tripe, intestines, and sometimes feet or head-cheek meat. In Greece it’s used as a hang-over food too, consumed in the early morning after spending all night… drinking!

This is the first time I made the soup myself, so I had to Skype my mom in Greece today, to make sure I had the recipe right. I cooked it tonight, and it came out great! Apparently in the US it’s not legal to sell intestines from what the butcher told me, so along the tripe, I used some heart meat for the soup. Here’s how I did it, just in case you come across some tripe. A perfect Paleo food!

Ingredients (makes 3-4 servings, 2 gr of net carbs each)
* 200 gr of sheep or goat tripe
* 100 gr of sheep/goat intestines, or heart, or cheek meat, or kidneys
* 30 gr of butter
* 5-6 garlic cloves
* 1 large egg, in room temperature
* 1 large juicy lemon, or 2 smaller ones
* Salt & pepper to taste

Method
1. *IF* using intestines, you must wash them well under running water. Then, get a wooden chopstick or any other wooden branch that looks like it, and penetrate the one side of the intestine. Keep pulling the intestine towards the chopstick, until you reach the other end. You then pick that end, and you pull the intestine. This basically turns the intestine inside-out, allowing you to clean it up from the inside too! So wash it up very, very well with water.

2. Boil water on a big cooking pan. Immerse the tripe for about 2 minutes. Remove from the pan, set aside. If using intestines, immerse them too for another 2-3 minutes. Then throw away that water. This step kills any microbes still living on the tripe and intestines. You don’t need to do this for the heart, cheek meat or kidneys (if using).

3. Wash the cooking pan with some washing liquid, rinse, and add lots of water again, bringing it into boil again. Immerse the tripe again (and intestines, if using). Using a tablespoon, remove and throw away the white stuff that start floating on top. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove the tripe/intestines, set aside, throw away the water. A note: if you know for sure that your tripe/intestines is coming from a baby lamb/goat, you might not need to do this step, as it won’t be as smelly as from an older animal. Definitely avoid non-castrated older male goats btw, they smell bad.

4. Wash the cooking pan with some washing liquid, rinse, and add 2.5 litters of water, bringing it into boil. While the water is getting into boiling point, cut the tripe (and intestines, if using) in 1 inch by 1.5 inch pieces. If using heard/meat/kidneys, cut them in thin stripes too. Add them all into the boiling water. Using a tablespoon, remove and throw away the white stuff that might start floating on top.

5. Peel the garlic, and chop it in small pieces. Add it to the boiling pan, along the butter, and salt. Cover the pan, and let it cook for 2 hours in low heat. It might need more water/time if the tripe is from an older animal.

6. Remove the pan from the heat. Get a deep plate, and put the egg white in it (keep the egg yolk for later, separately). Start beating the egg white with a whisk for 3-4 minutes, until it becomes a fluffy, creamy substance.


How beaten egg white should look like

7. Add into the plate the egg yolk and beat again for 1 minute or so. The fluffy substance should remain.

8. Add the lemon juice in it, and beat again for 30 seconds.


How beaten egg white, egg yolk and lemon should look like

9. Using a deep ladle, remove some broth from the soup and slowly pour it into the deep plate. Keep beating. Make sure the broth is not super-hot, or the egg will cook. You don’t want that! Doing “avgolemono” sauce without the egg cooking is a bit of an art, but it’s not as hard as it seems. Keep bringing broth to your deep plate, about half the broth from the soup. Just pour it slowly, and keep beating! It should look frothy!


How it should look like when you add the broth

10. Pour the plate’s content back into the pan, and stir vigorously. Your soup now has a thick look! Crack some black pepper in it, stir again, and serve hot (reheat if required). If it feels unsalted, just add more lemon instead. When cool, you can place patsas in your refrigerator, and keep for up to 2-3 days. Reheat to eat only the portion you need. Enjoy!


How it should look like when you poured everything back to the cooking pan

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