White Soup Menudo
One thing that I remember from my childhood was how my
mother used to cook her Menudo; even though she had a pressure cooker that
could cook those types of meats in a shorter amount of time, she preferred to
cook it overnight in a large pot, leaving it to simmer gently for hours.
We lived in an apartment with a very small kitchen, and for
hours the smell of garlic, beef, onion, and bay leaf filled all of the
bedrooms. I’d wake up in the middle of the night to that delicious aroma, and
in the darkness of the night, I would quietly sneak into the kitchen to find a
spoon and taste the broth simmering in the huge pot. Almost always, I burned my
mouth, but it didn’t matter as long as I could taste a little piece of the
menudo. There’s something about its texture that makes it so interesting to
eat. This soup takes me back to those moments in my mother’s kitchen in the
middle of the night.
Growing up in the north of Mexico, we always had menudo soup
seasoned with a red sauce made of dried peppers. This soup however, called
“White Menudo”, is similar to the one served in the States of Sinaloa and
Nayarit, and even in some regions like in the States of Sonora, Jalisco and Baja California.
Every state has its own way of serving this meal: you can find it with or
without hominy, topped with chopped onion, mint, cilantro, Serrano peppers, or
crushed dried peppers like árbol or piquín peppers. Some eat it with warm
tortillas, while others prefer a piece of a French roll to dip into the soup.
Directions1. Remove the Honeycomb tripe from the package, drain and rinse. Place in a large pot or bowl and squeeze the lime juice over the tripe and fill the pot with water. Let the tripe soak in that lime juice and water solution for 30 minutes, then drain and rinse again. This step will help eliminate any unpleasant smells from the tripe. Drain and rinse again, pat dry with paper towels, and cut into 2-inch pieces. Place the pieces, with the onion, garlic and bay leaf in a large pot with a lid and fill with the water.
- Place on medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Skim off the foam that will form on the top after a few minutes. Now, partially cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low, and gently simmer for about 2 hours. If you are adding the calf’s foot, remove as soon as it has cooked. Once it’s cool enough to handle, chop the meaty parts and discard the bones, return the meat to the pot.
- Add the drained and rinsed white hominy along with the sprig of mint. Keep cooking slowly, for about another ½ hour. If the tripe if too chewy, it needs more cooking. Well, cooked tripe should be tender when you bite it. Add salt as needed. Some cooks like to add granulated chicken bouillon to add more flavors to the broth instead of salt.
- Serve the soup in bowls, and pass the garnishes around the table so everyone can add them to their personal liking.
This soup reminds me a lot of the “Pho” soups served here in the States at the Vietnamese restaurants. I hope you try it and come back to let me know if you make any changes to the soup.