Some of you might wonder why the hell anyone would want to pretend a soup is made with tripe. Actually, tripe lovers are quite a big number in several – not only European – countries and I’m a proud one too. Tripe soup, when boldly seasoned and containing well prepared, non-smelly tripe, is one of my favourite Polish dishes. Apart from the lack of the disgusting smell (sought after for example in French tripe dishes which I hate), the seasoning is what differenciates it from other national tripe stews or soups (marjoram and dried ginger playing here a crucial role), so this mock version is flavoured exactly like a real one would, but the tripe is replaced with oyster mushrooms.
If you have ever had tripe, you will notice that thinly sliced oyster mushroom with its gills at first sight resembles sliced cow’s stomach. Oyster mushroom doesn’t have much taste (at least the farmed one), so the typical Polish tripe soup seasonings dominate this dish. Everyone prepares tripe soup in a slightly different way, but the dried ginger, the marjoram and the chilli powder are obligatory. My soup is slightly dark because I always add some… soy sauce (many people add Maggi instead). It is often thickened with a mixture of flour and water, but I often skip this step if I want to obtain a lighter result. Apart from reminding me of the delicious tripe soup, this is also one of the best oyster mushroom dishes I know.
TIPS: If you cannot really find marjoram, which is crucial here, you might try dried origan, but the taste will be only vaguely close.
Do not use fresh ginger! Dried ginger differs a lot in taste and aroma and is the only form accepted here.
Preparation: about 30 minutes
Ingredients (serves two):
1 litre stock (vegetable or chicken) or water
250 g (about 1/2 lb) fresh oyster mushrooms, sliced diagonally (tough stems discarded)
1 small onion, sliced
1 carrot, julienned
1 slice of a medium celeriac, julienned
(1/2 small parsley root, julienned)
(leaves from one small leek, if you use only water, not stock)
2 allspice berries
1 small bay leaf
1 flat teaspoon dried ginger in powder
1 – 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
(soy sauce or Maggi sauce)
salt, pepper, chilli
Put everything together in a big pan and cook at medium heat about 20 minutes (or until the carrot softens).
Just before serving you can thicken the soup: mix 1 tablespoon flour in several tablespoons cold water and add to the soup, stirring, until it thickens.
Adjust the taste and add more salt/soy sauce/marjoram/chilli/ginger…
Discard the leek (if used) and serve sprinkled with more chilli powder.