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Callos a la Gallega

Updated: Jul 27, 2020


Callos is the Spanish word for tripe. Callos dishes are popular, both as homey comfort food, and bar food, in many regions around Spain. It can look a little bit intimidating to Americans that grew up eating only “tamer” cuts of meat, but when prepared well, they are mild flavored, pleasantly textured morsels that go really well in saucy, soupy applications. This Galician version of a tripe stew also includes chorizo, garbanzos, and pig's feet (another ingredient that scares a lot of my American friends).


This dish was one of the first things that Rosa’s mother cooked for me (and about 15 other family members at that meal) on my first trip to Galicia. I was instantly enamored, and still rave to everyone that it is one of my favorite things that I've ever eaten in Spain. This recipe is more or less my translation of the recipe she wrote out for me after the fact. Cold, rainy day food does not get much better than this, anywhere.

This is a fairly complicated recipe, as the pig’s feet, tripe, and garbanzos all need to be cooked separately before starting the sofrito for the sauce. Each of the components is easy to manage, but you’ll dirty a lot of dishes. It’s more than worth the effort for a special family meal, though, every once in a while.

Sometimes pig’s feet can still have a little bit of hair on them, which needs to be removed as well as possible before cooking. There are two ways to remove the hair. First you can use a razor (the same kind you would use to shave your face or legs – please skip the shaving cream). Second, you can use a kitchen torch and burn off the hair.

This pic shows Rosa's aunt using a torch to burn off the hair on pig's feet.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb dried garbanzo beans

  • 3 or 4 whole pig’s feet, split and meat scored

  • 2 lbs honeycomb tripe, preferably “bleached” (white)

  • ¼ cup white vinegar, plus as needed for cleaning tripe

  • 2 whole onions, peeled

  • 5 bay leaves

  • 2 medium-sized yellow onions, peeled and cut in small dice

  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut in small diced

  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and cut in small dice

  • 5 roma tomatoes, seeded, and cut in small dice

  • 5 cloves garlic peeled and minced

  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds, toasted, then ground

  • 1 Tbsp pimentón de la vera, dulce

  • ¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper (or guindilla, if possible)

  • 1 lb Spanish style chorizo, peeled, cut or broken in 1” pieces

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil for cooking

  • Salt TT

Instructions

1. Cover the garbanzos in a generous amount of water. Place a lid on the container and let soak overnight at room temperature.


2. Rinse the pig’s feet well in cold water. Place them in a pot with one whole onion, 2 bay leaves, and cover with cold water. Season the liquid with salt, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer gently until the meat becomes fork tender. The time will vary depending on the age of the pig, but will take at least 2 hours or so. When tender, remove from the heat, discard onion, and set aside until needed.


3. Prepare the tripe:

Rinse the tripe well under cold water. Use coarse salt to scrape any contaminants from the tripe. Rinse with a small amount of white vinegar, then again with cold water. Pat dry, and cut into 1 – 1½” pieces.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the tripe, and let boil for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain, discarding water and reserve tripe.

Place the tripe, an onion, and 2 bay leaves in a pot and cover with water. Season with salt, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer gently until the tripe is tender but not mushy (between 1½ and 3 hours). When finished, remove from heat, discard onion, and reserve tripe for later


4. Drain the soaking liquid from the chickpeas, and cover the beans in cold water in a pot. Add a bay leaf, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer gently. Add water as needed to keep the beans completely covered while cooking. You can use some of the liquid from the pig’s feet for extra flavor. When the beans are completely cooked, remove from heat, season with salt, and set aside until needed.


5. Make the sofrito: Get a large, heavy-bottomed pot hot on a medium flame. Add enough olive oil to generously coat the pan. Add the slice of day old bread and toast until lightly browned on each side. Remove and set aside the bread, then add the diced onions and a generous pinch of salt. Cook the onions, stirring regularly, until they are soft, translucent, and well cooked, but not browned. Add the peppers and another small pinch of salt, and continue cooking, stirring regularly, until the peppers are also thoroughly cooked and soft. Add the tomatoes, pimentón, cayenne, cumin and another small pinch of salt. Continue cooking until the tomato liquid has reduced down completely and the tomatoes are well-cooked. Break the fried bread into pieces, then stir it and the garlic and the fried piece of bread into the sofrito. Continue cooking for another three minutes.


6. Make the sauce: Add the vinegar to the pan, and scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom. When the liquid has reduced by about 90%, add some of the liquid from the pig’s feet to the pan. Use an immersion blender to blend up the sauce (or purée it in a blender).


7. Finish the callos: Add the pig’s feet, chorizo, garbanzos, and tripe to the pan with the sauce and cover with the broth from the pig’s feet (you can use the broth from the garbanzos or tripe if you need more liquid). Adjust heat to gently simmer for about 10-15 minutes, just long enough for the flavors to come together. Taste, and add salt if needed. Serve hot with good crusty bread.

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