10 pounds of beef tripe (ask butcher for menudo type tripe)
1 large can of whole, white hominy (6 pounds, 9 ounces)
4 whole large garlic cloves
1 medium whole, white onion
1 Tablespoon salt
2- 28 ounce cans red chile sauce (or 1 cup of red chile powder)
2 Tablespoons of Menudo Spice Mix (or 1 Teaspoon of cumin)
1 Tablespoon of Oregano
2 Celery Stalks
2 Gallons of Water
1 large 10 quart pot
FIRST: Chase everyone out of the house. The initial cooking produces a unique aroma! Some people prefer to cook outdoors.
Cut beef tripe into 1 1/2 inch strips and remove as much fat as possible. WASH very thoroughly.
Drain all liquid from hominy.
Peel garlic cloves and onion.
Place beef tripe in large stock pot, add water, 2 celery stalks, whole garlic cloves and whole onion and boil over slow heat for five hours. Allow mixture to cool until fat rises to the top and remove as much fat as possible. Remove the celery stalks (they are added to help minimize the initial aroma from the cooking tripe).
Add hominy and rest of the ingredients and boil mixture over slow heat for another hour. STIR REGULARLY TO KEEP ANY PART OF MIXTURE FROM STICKING TO THE BOTTOM OF THE POT. Add water as needed to maintain a souplike consistency.
Serve hot in a soup bowl with saltine crackers or francesitos (french rolls). Traditional condiments include finely chopped onion, a sprinkle of oregano, crushed red chile pepper and/or lime or lemon wedges. Any left-overs can be frozen in freezer bags for use at a later date.
Menudo is excellent for cold days and figures prominently in the folk-lore and traditions of Mexican Cuisine. It is an acquired taste (much as crawfish is in Cajun Cuisine) but the spicy flavor is highly prized by those who grew up with it. It is a challenging dish and we extend a SPECIAL THANKS toMrs. Frances Gutierrez for sharing her skills and knowledge in its preparation.