I made two recipes from Daniel Boulud’s Braise (2006) today, the tripe with spicy yellow peppers and watercress (pg. 100) and Southern-style black-eyed peas with bacon (pg. 181). Let’s talk tripe. I love it, and this dish sounded so damned good I thought I’d go through all the prep and the zillion ingredients to prepare it. I used what he said and did what he said and it turned out good. It was complex – a bit spicy with a sweetish backdrop – but I think I’d like a little more peanut butter and a higher PTT (potato-to-tripe) ratio. The extra PB would make it a bit more comforting and provide more body to the sauce, and the potatoes make the dish a meal while serving as a foil for the flavor parade that is the sauce, so more of them would be a plus. I’d also reduce the stock slightly. I can’t see myself making this dish all that often, not so much because it is quite a bit of work, but for the same reason I only order Singapore chow fun one time for every thirty orders of “regular” chow fun: it has a very distinctive flavor and, as a matter of personal taste, it’s not something I want more than a few times a year.
I took a couple of liberties with the black-eyed peas and bacon dish: I used canned black-eyed peas and substituted 2/3 of the slab bacon with pork belly, which is basically slab bacon that has not had anything done to it. If you like a pronounced smokey flavor, then you should use all slab bacon, but I like it in small doses. I also used slightly over a pound of meat, which is way more than the recipe calls for, but I had a piece of pork belly in a “use it or lose it” situation. Finally, I substituted plain old yellow onion for the red. This was excellent – so savory and rib-sticking. Next time I make this pork and beans super deluxe I’ll serve it with some crusty rolls and a green salad. I cooked it so long it was like a confit – and a little goes a long way.