(Mexican spicy beef tripe soup)
Menudo is a tasty Mexican stew that is popular for big family gatherings. It is also served as a late-night or breakfast hangover cure for a night of drinking. The red (rojo) version adds the mild spice of dried chiles. White (blanco) menudo, without the spice, is more popular in the north of the country.
Making menudo is a long process, requiring slow simmering for hours to tenderize the tripe. Which is just fine, because menudo's flavor improves if it is made the day before it is served. Menudo leftovers freeze well. The Gulf Coast of Mexico has a similar tripe soup with vegetables called sopa de mondongo.
4 to 6 servings
For the soup
- Beef tripe, cleaned, trimmed of excess fat -- 2 pounds
- Limes or lemons -- 3
- Salt -- 1 tablespoon
- Onion, chopped -- 1
- Garlic -- 1 head
- Oregano -- 1 tablespoon
- Broth or water -- 3 quarts
- Dried New Mexico or ancho chiles -- 3 or 4
- Cumin -- 2 teaspoons
- Salt and pepper -- to season
- Limes, quartered -- 4 or 5
- Onion, finely chopped -- 1
- Dried oregano -- 1/4 cup
- Cilantro, chopped -- 1 bunch
- Chile piquín powder or red chile flakes -- to taste
- Rinse the tripe well under cold water. Then add it to a large bowl and rub it well with the lime or lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of salt. Set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
- Rinse the tripe again with cold water, then cut it 2-inch by 1/2-inch strips. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the trip and boil for 10 minutes to blanch it. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
- Rinse out the pot and add the blanched tripe, chopped onion, garlic, oregano and broth or water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered with a lid, for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the tripe is very tender. Regularly skim off any foam that forms on the surface and discard.
- While the tripe is simmering, heat a dry skillet over medium-high flame. Add the dried chiles to the skillet and press them down with a spatula to toast them. When they are toasted and softened on one side, flip and toast on the other side. Take care not to burn the chiles or they will be bitter.
- Remove the chiles, cool, and using gloved hands, remove and discard the stems and seeds. Tear the chiles into pieces, add them to a blender, along with the cumin and about 1 cup of the tripe broth and puree.
- About 30 minutes before the trip is done, stir in chile puree and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another half hour and adjust seasoning. The menudo can be refrigerated or frozen at this point and served later.
- Serve the menudo hot in large bowls with warm corn tortillas or bolillos rolls. Each diner stirs in his or her choice of condiments.
- Menudo blanco (White menudo): The northern Mexican version served in Sinaloa and Sonora states. Eliminate the chiles and cumin. You can also add 1 28-ounce can of pozole, drained, about 30 minutes before the soup is finished.
- Many recipes add a cow's foot (pata) to the simmering soup to give the broth added body. Have your butcher split the foot in half to get all the flavor. Add the foot to the broth at the same time to add the tripe.