I had an old callos recipe that had undergone a few revisions, but there’s always room for improvement. This slow cooker callos beats the old recipe by 10 notches.
The first reason has to do with motion. On the stovetop, the heat at the bottom of the pot causes the liquid to rise and bubble, and make the pieces of meat dance around.
The constant movement may cause the pieces of meat to break apart when they are already tender. Plus, because stirring is required to make sure that there is no scorching at the bottom of the pot, the additional agitation doubles the chances of breakage.
But because the stew hardly simmers in the slow cooker and no stirring is necessary, it is possible to bring the meat to that level of tenderness that is literally melt-in-the-mouth but with very little chance of ruining the perfectly cut pieces.
The second reason is convenience. The callos cooked overnight while we slept. In the morning, I sauteed the vegetables in olive oil, dumped the cooked meat and sauce into the pot with the vegetables, and the callos was ready for the dining table.
The third reason is flavor. Stews are always better the next day after reheating but this slow cooker callos did not need to sit overnight in the fridge to allow the flavors to deepen. That happened inside the slow cooker.
Slow Cooker Callos
- 500 grams honeycomb or blanket beef tripe (see notes after the recipe)
- 700 grams beef kneecap (or use beef leg which is more traditional)
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 6 cups bone broth
- 1 to 2 chorizo de Bilbao sliced into rings
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig oregano stripped
- 2 bird’s eye chilies finely sliced
- ⅓ cup tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup cubed carrot
- ½ cup diced bell peppers
- ½ cup canned chickpeas well drained
- ¼ cup sliced olives (optional but recommended)
- Place the tripe and kneecap (bones and all) in a pot. Cover with water and add a tablespoon of vinegar.
- Boil on the stovetop for 10 minutes.
- Drain the tripe and kneecap, and rinse well under the tap.
- Place the tripe and kneecap in the slow cooker.
- Pour in enough broth to cover.
- Cook on HIGH for three hours.
- Scoop out the tripe and kneecap.
- They will still be tough at this stage so use a sturdy knife. Cut the tripe into strips about an inch wide.
- Separate the kneecap bones from the meat and tendons. Cut the meat and tendons into strips.
- Take a cup of broth from the slow cooker and stir the tomato paste in it.
- Put the tripe and kneecap (including the bones) back into the slow cooker.
- Add the chorizo, garlic, onion, bay leaf, oregano, chilies and diluted tomato paste.
- Season with salt and pepper. Stir.
- Set the slow cooker to LOW and cook for another 12 hours.
- Heat the olive oil in a pot. Add the carrot cubes, diced bell peppers, chickpeas and olives.
- Cook over medium heat until the carrot cubes are cooked but still a little crisp.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Fish out the bones from the slow cooker and discard.
- Pour the contents of the slow cooker into the pot with the vegetables. Stir.
- Cook just until simmering.
- Serve your slow cooker callos with rice or bread.