Mondongo, Mofongo, Sancocho. Fufu, Cou Cou, and Tum Tum


Mondongo, Mofongo, and Sancocho are the names of a few dishes throughout the Caribbean, central, and south America. I just love the way these names roll off my tongue. Then there is fufu in Cuba, cou cou in Barbados, fungi/fungee in Antigua, and tum tum in Haiti. There is no way one can deny a connection with African languages and food ways.

Now that we are in the fall season and cooler weather is here, it’s time for good hearty soup recipes. A soup that is common throughout Africa and the Caribbean is Tripe Soup. Tripe is the stomach of a cow. There are many variations based on country and even regions within a country, but all claim this soup will fortify you.

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  • Following is a recipe for Mondongo (Tripe Soup) from Puerto Rico. The original recipe doesn’t call for sweet (yellow) plantain or spinach, but I like the touch of sweetness the yellow plantain introduces and the spinach adds more nutrition and color.
  • 2 lbs.tripe cut into small pieces
  • 4 C. lemon juice combined with 8 C. cold water
  • 3 Quarts cold water mixed with 1 TB. salt
  • 1 TB achiote oil (annatto)
  • 1 TB vegetable oil
  • 1/4 lb. smoked ham or 2 smoked turkey tails cut in half
  • 1/2 C. sofrito  (click on link for recipe )
  • 1 C. tomato sauce
  • 1/4 C. olives
  • 1/2 lb. each, taro root (yautia), yuca (cassava) , calabaza (West indian pumpkin), all peeled and diced
  • 1 green plantain, peeled and sliced
  • 1 yellow plantain, peeled and sliced
  • 10 oz. package frozen spinach
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1/2 TB black pepper
  • Salt to taste

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  1. Soak the tripe in the lemon water for 30 minutes.
  2. After 30 minutes, rinse and put in a large soup pot with the 3 quarts of cold salted water.
  3. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 2-1/2 hours, or until the tripe is tender. Drain and rinse.
  4. In a clean pot, heat the oils.
  5. Add the smoked ham or turkey tails, sofrito, tomato sauce, and olives
  6. Saute over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  7. Add the tripe, root vegetables, plantain, bay leaves, and enough cold water to cover.
  8. Add pepper and salt.
  9. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the root vegetables are tender.
  10. Add spinach and simmer 10 minutes.
  11. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serves 10 to 15

Note: you can also add 1 cup drained canned garbanzos (chick-peas). Add them 5 minutes before serving.




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