Spicy Tripe Soup (Menudo)

Mexican Menudo
photo (c) Thomas Fricke / Design Pics / Getty Images
Prep: 8 hrs 30 mins
Cook: 5 hrs
Total: 13 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings

As with many authentic Mexican and Hispanic dishes, menudo comes in countless renditions. It can be red (made with dried chilies), include pig’s feet or hominy (or both), or be served with bolillos, tortillas, or tostadas. Some South American versions include chorizo, yuca, or potatoes. But regardless of the preparation, this dish is known to be a spot-on cure for the unpleasant physical effects associated with a night of heavy drinking.

Considered a morning—or at least a daytime—meal, menudo commonly appears on the Mexican breakfast table on New Year's Day, or the morning after a wedding or other large celebration. Often served with multiple garnishes and salsas, menudo tends to be a labor-intensive undertaking, and for this reason, its steps frequently get distributed among several members of a family or community. The collective nature of making menudo contributes to its reputation as a special occasion dish.

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried hominy

  • 3 pounds honeycomb beef tripe, cleaned and cut into bite-size pieces

  • 2 pounds pigs feet,split in half, bones and skin intact

  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano

  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

  • 5 whole peppercorns

  • 1 ancho chili, toasted, seeded, and coarsely chopped

  • 2 poblano chilies, roasted, seeded, peeled, and coarsely chopped

  • Halved limes, chopped onion, torn cilantro leaves, for garnish

  • Bolillos, tortillas, or tostadas, Mexican table sauce, and sliced avocados, for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Cover hominy with water and soak overnight or for at least 8 hours.

  3. Drain hominy and put in a medium-sized pot.

  4. Cover with 2 to 3 inches of water and bring it to a boil.

  5. Reduce heat and simmer hominy for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add more hot water as needed to maintain that hominy is covered in liquid.

  6. Drain hominy and transfer to a large pot. Add tripe to pot, along with pig’s feet, onion, oregano, garlic, and peppercorns.

  7. Cover with 2 to 3 inches of water and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and keep at a simmer for 2 hours. Stir occasionally.

  8. Add chilies. Cook soup for 1 additional hour.

  9. Stir before serving. Place a serving of soup in a bowl and garnish with cilantro. Serve with limes, chopped onions, and extra cilantro on the side so everyone can garnish their own bowl. Accompany with bolillos, tortillas, or tostadas, any Mexican table sauce of your liking, and sliced avocados.

For a Flavorful Menudo

  • While not nearly as labor-intensive as some versions, this menudo recipe does take time. You can make it over the course of 2 or 3 days, chilling it between steps and re-heating it right before serving. Menudo (similar to pozole and other soups and stews) tastes even better as a leftover than when you first make it. Cooks usually prepare the soup mid-week, then chill and reheat it on Saturday or Sunday, a process that concentrates the broth and intensifies the flavors. Start on Wednesday and serve on Saturday for a traditional cooking experience.
  • Alternatively, you can use a pressure cooker to cut down on the cooking time. Use it for 45 minutes to soften the hominy after it has been soaking in water overnight. Then use it for another 50 minutes to soften the tripe, pig's feet and spices. For the final cooking time, we do recommend transferring the mixture to a pot and letting it simmer for 90 minutes.
  • You can remove the pig's feet before serving, although some people enjoy scraping off any fat, meat, or marrow they can find hiding in the bones.
  • You can substitute 4 (15-ounce) cans of hominy for the dry hominy to cut down on the preparation time. Add it along with the chilies.
  • Freeze in individual bags and once you're ready to eat it, put the frozen mixture in a pot in a gentle simmer until it boils. Serve immediately and do not freeze again any of the leftovers.

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