What is callos?
Callos (pronounced “CAH-yos”) is a slow-cooked Spanish stew made from tripe, chorizo, black pudding and tomato. It is a speciality from the capital Madrid and traditionally a poor person’s dish because tripe and other types of offal are cheap. Incidentally, tripe is the stomach lining of a cow or bull.
Despite the resurgence in popularity of offal, callos remains a dish for which you need a certain amount of guts (pardon the pun) to try. Leg of beef is also part of the recipe.
Late sixteenth and early seventeenth century cookbooks feature recipes for callos, which was referred to as “a delicacy with tripe”. Tripe is eaten all over Spain and prepared in all sorts of ways, but the Madrid version is the best known. Other parts of the country add their own twist to the dish. On the coast, for example, you will find a seafood dish; in Asturias, a version is made with different kinds of local sausage; while Catalonia uses beans.
Did you know...
In the Philippines, callos was introduced by the Spaniards and is considered a dish for special occasions. They serve the dish with a bowl of simple fried rice with garlic.
How to make callos
First of all, the tripe and leg of beef, are thoroughly rinsed and brought to the boil in a pan of cold water. The water is drained, the meat is placed under fresh water and then cooked with or without a selection of seasonings in the pan – bay leaf, peppercorns, garlic and onion. This takes several hours, depending on the quantities.
A flavour base of onion, tomato, chorizo pieces, black pudding and sometimes ham, paprika and flour is cooked in a frying pan. This makes a thick sauce, which is poured into the tripe pan with a little of the cooking water. Olives, parsley, saffron and chilli flakes are optional extras. Leave to simmer on a low heat for a while until the sauce is thick and the meat is tender. Before serving, cut the meat from the leg bone and stir it into the stew.
How to eat
Serve the callos in an authentic way in terracotta bowls, with plenty of bread to mop up the sauce.
Take a trip to the Philippines and enjoy your callos with a bowl of simple Asian garlic fried rice.