Pieds paquets

A Marseille typical recipe

Discover the inescapable dish of “pieds paquets marseillais”, a tripe recipe born in the Pomme district of Marseille.

History of a legendary dish

This unmissable tripe recipe from our region, which is always presented in the form of bundles of tripe and sheep’s feet, was born in the Pomme district of Marseille in 1880s, thanks to the chef Louis Ginouvès, before appearing in recipe books in 1888.

This speciality quickly became known throughout France thanks to the canned food, and as a result became “almost” as popular as bouillabaisse.

Its success is such that the town of Sisteron also claims to be the originator of this dish, more particularly its slaughterhouses, which would have prevented the offal from going to waste, and two companies still produce it today.

And lovers of legends will not be disappointed, as the feet and packages are said to have Marseille ancestors, which were offered by a certain Gyptis 2600 years ago to her future husband, Protis. After the cup of wine, as a token of love, she offered him rolled lamb’s pansies stuffed with flesh and fragrant herbs. Centuries later, the feet were added to arrive at today’s recipe.

The feet and parcels, which at the time were traditionally eaten on mardi gras, now have their place at the “big supper” on December 24th.  

Preparation tips

The preparation of this dish requires a great deal of skill and the secret lies in the immensely long cooking time.

The mutton tripe must be cleaned in fresh water and cut into pieces of about 12 cm.

A “buttonhole” cut must then be made at one end of the tripe, which will allow it to be tied up after being stuffed with cubes of bacon mixed with chopped garlic and parsley, pepper and salt.

As for the sheep’s feet, after cleaning them, they should be cut in half and flambéed.

The feet should be placed in the bottom of the casserole pot with the packages on top, bathed in white wine, stock with chopped tomatoes and onions, carrot slices, and herbs such as thyme, bay leaves, cloves and sometimes orange peel.

From this point on, you need to be patient, as it takes about ten hours to cook over a low heat!
And in keeping with the famous saying, the longer the better, it is advisable to marinate the feet and packages for at least five days at a rate of three hours a day.

It is also possible to find raw feet and packages at the butcher’s, already washed, stuffed and rolled, which only requires some skill for cooking.

This dish is best eaten hot, usually with boiled potatoes.

Pieds paquets in Marseille

This dish boasts no half measures, either you love it or you hate it. The strong smell given off during cooking and even during tasting has discouraged many and others would eat them beyond measure.

It also has the privilege of being the very reason for a family meal, the preparation being both colossal and painstaking, when the grandmother (more often than not) prepares the pieds paquets, it is a perfect excuse to go home for lunch on Sunday.

Although they are traditionally associated nowadays with Christmas and the big dinner, they are a festive dish in their own right, often very much appreciated at baptisms and communions, as they are emblematic of the region and the city of Marseille.