Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~Philippians 4:8~

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Menudo Time!

Cold weather is always a catalyst for hot comfort food in Mexican culture. Around here, a big pot of a soup or broth is just the thing to take comfort in and to warm up the whole kitchen! When the latest cold front blew in, it became apparent that it was Menudo time! No, not that 70's teen rock group of which Ricky Martin was a member. I'm talking about a rich stew made with beef tripe, hominy, and a mixture of dried ancho poblano and cascabel chilies as well as herbs and spices. To make, all you need are some dried chilies which you deseed and devein, soften with hot water, and drop in the blender with garlic and cumin. Season this to taste and add to the pot once the menudo tripe is thoroughly cooked. Some oregano and a little thyme and marjoram will really make it sing. Last, add plenty of hominy and bring to a boil. Cook until the flavors are well infused. Some people will simply use packets of store bought menudo spice, usually in the form of powder. It's a little shortcut, and the menudo will still taste very good, although maybe a little gritty. In fact, I do like to add a little packet just to enhance the flavor. But in my opinion, the richness of the fresh chilie pods is worth the little extra effort to prepare. Once served, it'll bring a sweat to your brow if you're not used to hot spicy flavors. You need nothing else when menudo is on the menu. Maybe a few (corn for me, and flour for my sweetie) tortillas and a good serving of diced onion, cilantro, and some lime wedgies. Some people like to add Frito corn chips to their bowls. If it's a small crowd you're feeding, you'll undoubtedly have some leftovers. Menudo can be scooped into some freezer bags and kept in the freezer until the next time you get a hankering for the spicy concoction. A word of caution: tripe releases alot of fat. During cooking, it's a good thing to scoop out as much of it as possible. At the end of cooking time, I use a fat separator container which you can purchase at kitchen supply stores. The best way to remove it is once it's cooled in the refrigerator where any amount of fat will solidify and can be easily removed. In the pictures I posted, you can still see some of the fat, which makes for a messy stove also. With some elbow grease (gasp!) and a little 409 spray, all traces are removed from any greasy surface.

Once all the chilies and hominy are added, the pot gets full to the brim.

A spicy spoonful!




Some of the chilie fixings. Note the different colors of the chilies.


The pot before the spices are added.


Deseeded cascabel chilie pods. Some of the seeds will be saved for the garden. This is a very hot chilie pod.


Chile Ancho, or dried Poblano pods. A very mild pepper with such a rich, dark flavor, almost like smoky chocolate.
These seeds will also be saved for the spring garden. They seem to grow well in our climate.
Rumor has it that menudo is good for hangovers. Which might explain why you see party revelers during many an early morning enjoying steaming bowls of menudo at restaurants. One thing's certain, if your sinuses are stopped up, this spicy stew will clear them like nothing can!


5 comments:

glorv1 said...

Very good. Looks real yummy. Hope your having a good time down your in-laws. Take care.

Deborah said...

We could use a pot of hot anything here tonight. It's supposed to the the coldest night of the year so far. It looks delicious!

Hugs,
Deborah

glorv1 said...

I like the way you laid everything out naming it as you go along. I use the same type of chili's and I too save the seeds. Be sure to take the seeds out before you toast the chili. I learned that from my dad. Did you eat the menudo already? Mail me some...hahaahah. :)

Renee said...

Look like something my husband would love. He is a hot spicy food kinda man.

Love Renee

Anonymous said...

Hermana,no habia checado esta receta tuya, realmente se ve delicioso. Yo que no soy tanto de menudo y se me antojo.Dice Edwin que si se ve riquisimo en la foto como estara de rico.

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