Lower Normandy Tripes à la Mode de Caen
The Caen-style tripes, commonly called tripes A la Mode de Caen in France, is a traditional meat casserole from Lower Normandy. This French stew made out with beef offal is part of Normandy's tasty, rustic gastronomy highly appreciated by lovers of meat and gourmet tourists.
The typical tripes a la mode de Caen beef dish from Lower Normandy dates back to the late Middle Ages. According to the tradition, the authentic Caen-style Tripes dish was set up by a monk of Caen abbey, Sidoine Benoît, who created an irresistible recipe - definitely different from Italian or Polish equivalent meat stews.
This typical Norman dish indeed makes the difference by its simplicity and authenticity. It is cooked with spices, onions and garlic, a fresh bouquet garni - flavourful mix of French herbs - and tasty vegetables like leek, celery and carrots. It is not surprising that tripes à la mode de Caen have become one of the reasons why Parisian people like to spend their weekends in Lower Normandy!
Top Tip! tripes à la mode de Caen was first renowned as William the Conqueror's favourite dish. It is believed in Lower Normandy that the famous Conqueror found this dish absolutely mouth-watering and used to enjoy it with apple juice. That may explain why modern versions of the Caen-style tripe include Calvados or cider.
The 4 kinds of tripe and the split calf's foot - which are the mainstays of this Norman traditional dish - can also be stewed with white wine. The only requirement is to cook the meat in a large terracotta casserole called Tripière in French, the lid of which is sealed for the 12 hours cooking.
Normandy's offal dish is traditionally served on a bed of steamed potatoes for village or family gatherings. To perpetuate and protect the authentic recipe of Tripes A la Mode de Caen, Jean Le Hir, Norman butcher, created the Golden Tripière Brotherhood in 1951.
Since then in Lower Normandy, the association organizes every year a great, popular competition to elect the best Producer of Tripes, considered "ambassador" of the Normandy gastronomy!