Monday, March 14, 2011

Anna Sultana's Soppa tal Kirxa - Tripe Soup, Maltese Style

On Saturday I posted Carmela Soprano's Italian Tuna Salad.  
Something she must have dished up for many Lenten meals.
She probably did use imported Italian tuna packed in olive oil.
Well, whoopee for her.
Not everybody has Carmela's 'resources'.

Back to eating off the hump...  Our waists will be slimmer and our shelves will be clearer.

We knew it was Lent when Ma dished up more soups.

In Malta the Catholic Church ruled Sundays, holy days and meals.
Lent was a time of fast and abstinence. 
No fooling around.
You walked around for a whole day with ashes on your forehead.
Lousy meals were a part of the season.
Live with it. 

If you're unfamiliar with those terms, abstinence meant no meat on Wednesday and Friday during Lent.
Actually that was a bit of a joke.
We didn't eat that much meat.
Hey, heard of the Mediterranean Diet? 

But the one-two punch of Lent was fasting.
That meant two half meals and no snacks.
And that one main meal better not make up for what you were missing.
Your Lenten meals were being recorded in a celestial diet record book more strictly than anything Weight Watchers would expect you to do to lose 5 pounds. 

What is it about religion and food?

Okay... Ma wanted to follow the Church's rules.
Ma wanted to avoid living with a hungry family.
Especially a hungry Pop.
He didn't cope well with a rumbling belly.

Catholic Moms knew a few diet tricks.
Fill the belly with water.
Weight Watchers didn't invent that trick.

This is a Maltese Lent staple.
Filling and not something you'd find in a fancy restaurant.
The priests and Pop approved.
So did the budget.
That's just our way.

                        Soppa tal Kirxa 

Simmer for about 2 hours                                                      
800 g (about 2 pounds) tripe, cut into small pieces
2 litres of water
1 cauliflower, finely chopped
1 turnip, finely chopped                                 
1 cabbage, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped                                      
400 g pumpkin
4 large potatoes, finely chopped                    
1 onion, finely chopped  
Bring to the boil. 
Reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are done.  
Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

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