¡Hola reinas de la cocina! Today we explore one of my favorite dishes within traditional Mexican food, menudo. I remember when I was a little girl, my abuelita used to spend hours in the kitchen creating this spicy concoction of beef, broth, hominy, cilantro, and onions. If you’ve seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding and their obsession with using Windex for everything, think of menudo as being the same thing for us. Did someone break your heart? Have some menudo! Getting married? Menudo! Have a headache? Menudo! There was even a band of the same name starring Ricky Martin. And you can bet that we all shake our bon bons as we whip up this delicious, spice-filled Mexican soup.
Menudo originated from the peasant communities who were given the leftover cuts of meat from the hacienda owners in pre-revolution Mexico. While the hacienda owners got the best cuts, the campesinos usually received the organ meats, brains, head, tails and hooves of the cow. While using their creative culinary skills, the peasant cooks unknowingly created a soup that is now celebrated among families and across generations. Now that’s how we make lemonade out of lemons, amigas!
Menudo can be a meal on its own or traditionally served during celebrations, such as New Year’s, weddings or quinceañeras; usually where alcohol is consumed, to prevent hangovers. Anyone remember their Tio Jose having a great time at their quince only to recover the next day quickly? That, mis reinas, is the power of menudo.
There are two different types of broth when making menudo; depending on your location and region. I’m originally from Texas, and my family is from Tamaulipas, so our menudo consists of a red broth. Southern areas like Sinaloa usually incorporate white broth into their menudo and typically don’t include chile rojo.
What goes into menudo? It can vary, but it typically consists of onions, garlic, chiles, guajillo chili paste, hominy, oregano, lime, and most importantly, cilantro. Usually, menudo is made with beef tripe which is cow stomach, with variations including honeycomb and librillo. Some cooks also enrich the broth with cow feet, tendons and sometimes pig feet can be used as well.
There’s a reason why as Latinas we spend a lot of time in the kitchen: because our preparation of food is how we show love and bring our families together. Right?
A meal like this takes time and patience. But when the time is short, and your family is impatient you can always try the homemade taste of Juanita’s Foods Menudos. There’s one for every taste: Menudo, Menudo Hot & Spicy, Menudo with Honeycomb Tripe, Menudo without Hominy, and White Menudo.
To top off the homemade taste of Juanita’s Foods Menudo, serve it with diced onions, chopped cilantro, lime wedges and corn tortillas. Enjoy!