It wasn’t until my early 20’s that I actually had menudo, and even when I did try it I wasn’t so sure what to think of it. But when you are dating a boy who’s family is from Mexico and it’s the holidays, you eat the menudo. Let me tell you, I’m glad I did. Since that first bowl I’ve had many others, and much like spaghetti, you get quite a variety from each person. The woman (I really should say family) that watches the twinadoes is also from Mexico, her husband makes the best menudo so of course I asked him how he does it. I’ve tweaked it a little here and there, but for the most part it’s they way he showed me.
Depending on my mood and craving, sometimes I add hominy, but I would say that mostly I do not. I stick to using lots of tripe and beef feet, after cooking in that glorious red broth it just can’t be beat. Traditionally, it was a meal that was cheap because it uses the parts of the cow (and sometimes pig) that most people would throw away. These days that cannot be said, the tripe I purchased was a little over five dollars a pound….
Please note, this recipe makes a really large pot of menudo. I don’t make it often so when I do I like to make enough to be able to freeze some for later.
For the Recipe:
5 lbs. beef feet
5 large onions, chopped
3 tbsp. salt (this will vary according to your taste)
1 tbsp. pepper (this will vary according to your taste)
10 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 lbs. honeycomb tripe, cleaned and cut into bite size pieces
2 1/2 lbs. scalded tripe
12 New Mexico chilies, seeded
5 Guajillo chilies, seeded
2 tbsp. oregano
In a very large pot (I used a 13 quart pot) add the beef feet, 3 onions, 2 tbsp. salt, pepper, and garlic. Cover with water and let cook over medium heat for 2 hours (you don’t want the water to be boiling, more like a soft simmer), skimming the scum off the top as it cooks.
After two hours add all the tripe and 1 tbsp. salt, let cook for two hours.
While this is cooking you can prepare the chilies. You don’t have to use both kinds, if you can only find one of them that will work. In a dry pan roast the peppers, they will soften up and get a deeper color. This does not take long so don’t walk away or you will burn them, don’t use if that happens. Remove from the pan, place in the blender, cover with 1 cup boiling water and let sit for 15 or so minutes to soften up. Add the oregano and the remaining onions, blend until smooth. Set aside until ready to use. Once the tripe has been cooking for two hours add the chile mixture. If you want to add hominy now would be the time, the amount is up to you, if I were going to add it to this recipe I would use a 14 ounce can.
Let this cook for about 20 minutes so the chile mixture has time to cook a bit, give a taste and adjust with more salt and pepper if needed. Once you are happy with the salt/pepper let it cook an additional 1-2 hours until the tripe is tender and the liquid has turned a deep red/brick color, it will also thicken up.
Ladle up a bowl and serve with tortillas and traditional menudo condiments.
green onions, chopped
red pepper flakes