Le Déjeuner Dominical
Sunday lunch, le déjeuner domenical, is a wonderful thing in France. I’ve written about it before here, but it bears repeating: Sunday lunch, if you’re lucky, lasts until supper time, and your guests will sit around the table happily eating and drinking until it gets dark, at which time, if you want them to leave, you can invite them to stay for supper. It’s a great custom and a deeply ingrained part of French culture that we love to share.
Today’s déjeuner dominical was beautifully adorned by Dorindo’s gorgeous flower arrangement. Even if I didn’t adore Dorindo himself I’d wish I could import him to the U.S., because no one does flowers like he does. And I wanted beauty, because this was my foray into serving tripes à la Lyonnaise, and even though I happen to find cow stomachs beautiful, it’s possible that not everyone does..
But first Alain, Marie-France, Shel and I sat around drinking what will probably be the last rosé of the year, nibbling on pretty little trifles
and chatting about everything that’s happened in the last 20 months. Meanwhile I was fervently hoping for success on the tripe front, since Alain has a Lyon connection and I was hoping to make a convincing version of the classic dish for someone who really knows how it should taste. Later we would eat an anchovy and garlic-rubbed lamb shoulder with a cauliflower purée and green beans, a perfect Saint-Félicien cheese, a sweet piece of pascade Cévenole for the three of them, and I knew that all of that would be delicious, but meanwhile, I was fretting over the tripe.
I’d slivered it up, after simmering it yesterday. I’d sliced onions, chopped garlic and parsley, cooked it in lard and butter, added wine and vinegar, and it was about 92% as delicious as the version I had in Lyon a few days ago. I think that simmering it a bit longer, slivering it a bit finer, and perhaps adding a little more vinegar, and I’d have nailed it 100%. Nonetheless, it was really and truly delicious, and even Shel ate it, which is saying a lot.
There’s no reason that this can’t be successfully made in the U.S., the only hard part is finding the cow stomach. But if you have an Asian market in the neighborhood, it’s totally worth getting one and making this. I promise. Remember, Shel ate it, and liked it!
Tripes à la Lyonnaise
Get a cow stomach (the reticulum, if it’s labeled like that. It should look like a bowl, or a deflated ball, and will probably weigh about 1 1/2 pounds.)
Place the stomach in a large pan, fill with cold water to cover, and add a peeled and halved onion and a couple of cloves of garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook very gently for an hour and a half to two hours. Drain and let cool.
Cut the tripe into long slivers, fairly fine, and set aside.
Peel and slice two medium-small onions, peel and chop a large clove of garlic. Sauté these in butter, about 4-5 Tablespoons, plus a good pinch of salt, until golden.
In another larger skillet, melt 3-4 Tablespoons of lard and add the tripe. Cook over medium-high heat until it’s sizzling and some of the tripe has turned golden. Add some white wine, about 3/4 of a cup, and let it simmer until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the tripe is again sizzling. Add the onions and all of the butter from their pan to the tripe. Add plenty of salt and pepper, a big handful of chopped parsley, and stir until it’s all sizzling and beautiful. Now start adding some wine vinegar, it smells strong at first, but it is quickly soaked up. You want a definite vinegar taste, but don’t drown it. I’d estimate that you’ll need about 3-4 Tablespoons, but add it bit by bit and go by taste. Add more butter and salt if necessary.
The result should be tender and golden, slightly crusty, quite buttery, with an appetizing tang of vinegar. One recipe serves four as a starter, but you’ll need to double this for a main course. It’s a super comfort food, and as soon as we get home I’m planning to go on a cow stomach quest, as I’m looking forward to eating it on a grey and drizzly northwest winter’s day. They have those days in Lyon too, after all, so the dish should feel right at home.