Hola Reinas! As we explore the delicious delights of everything Mexican, I want us to take a moment to enjoy the culinary genius of one of our most beloved dishes; menudo. Now, I know that many of you likely grew up with one version of menudo over another. “¡A mí me gusta el rojo!” “¡Yo quiero el blanco!” Pero, ¡un momento, mis reinas! There’s plenty options in Juanita’s kitchen for all the menudo varieties life has to offer. Y como Mexicanas, we provide a lot for this life, no?
While most menudo includes garlic, onion, and tripe, not all menudo comes with the same broth or even the same “fixings.” ¿Donde están mis comadres de Sinaloa? In Sinaloa, the menudo is traditionally made with a white broth. El menudo blanco, as it is called, still includes the traditional beef broth, beef tripe, and hominy. While this menudo is made similarly to the other kinds, the spices are a little different. Care for some mint anyone? In menudo blanco, a lot of recipes call for mint and lemon to give it a slightly different flavor. To spice things up a bit, you can use chilé piquín or a Serrano pepper.
If you see red, then the menudo rojo is for you. Menudo rojo traditionally comes from the Northern regions of Mexico like Jalisco. In this version, you’re likely to find ancho peppers, guajillo chile and chile de árbol. The process of drying the chile to properly make the sauce takes time, but it’s worth it! This menudo also relies on oregano and cumin to give it sazón. While this is the menudo I grew up eating, I don’t discriminate against other types of this magical caldo in any way, shape or form… not one bite…I mean, not one bit.
Now, if your menudo isn’t spicy enough, you can always add extra chile de árbol that gives the menudo rojo a smoky flavor, or you can add a lot more chile piquín to your dish. My grandpa couldn’t live without his little glass jar of chile piquín. He put it on everything!
There’s also a question of “to hominy” or “not to hominy.” The answer is “Sí, mis reinas!” In your kitchen, you decide! In Central and some parts of Southern Mexico, it is not uncommon to see menudo prepared without hominy. I know some of you are thinking, “¿¡pero cómo!? ¡Por Dios!!” But menudo without hominy is like coming home to a surprise party. You’re not expecting it and then suddenly, life is good. It’s that yummy, even without the hominy.
Now, one of the most important parts of menudo is the meat. The most commonly used is tripe but did you know that there are different types of tripe that can be used? The three types of beef tripe are; rumen tripe or pancita, honeycomb tripe or pancita de panal and book tripe or librillo. Rumen tripe or Pancita is the most tender and mild tasting, and honeycomb tripe (or pancita de panal) has the most texture. Typically only rumen tripe and honeycomb tripe are used for menudo. Additionally, some people like to add cow or pigs feet to their menudo for richer flavor.
While all these different takes on this traditional Mexican meal vary depending on the region of Mexico your family is from, the beauty here mis reinas, is that we can choose whichever variety we prefer! Menudo is far more than just a Mexican soup; it’s part of our culture and who we are. Isn’t it nice to know that now we can enjoy it anytime we want with Juanita’s? We don’t have to wait for Fulanita’s wedding to enjoy this fantastic dish. We can have it now! We can have it today if we want! It’s that easy.
Pero, ¿qué esperan? I’ll see you in the kitchen in 5 minutes. Bring the tortillas, cilantro and lime. Happy cooking, Reinas!