For some, menudo is an acquired taste. A soup with cow stomach as one of the ingredients is not loved by everyone. But many others praise the taste, a mixture of garlic, onion, chile, hominy, and tripe. It has a zesty flavor.
If you are a menudo lover, and you want friends or relatives to experience the unique taste, you may have to do a little persuading. But letting them smell the aroma and take a spoonful should go a long way toward overcoming their reluctance to eat it.
Like many Mexican dishes it is colorful and contains a lot of spices. The soup has a spicy red broth with white hominy. Americans generally view soup as an appetizer, but for Mexicans it is often the main dish. Menudo is fairly common in Mexico. They believe the soup can actually cure a hangover.
In fact, many families of Mexican descent will make the soup on New Year’s Day precisely because of its supposed hangover curing properties. And some people swear by it – you might think that a soup made with cow stomach wouldn’t be the best cure for nausea, but those who use it for that purpose say it actually does help. It’s the chiloso broth that does the trick, they say.
It is a traditional Mexican dish, simple in composition. It represents the native Aztec cooking with the chiles and hominy, and it has the Spanish influence of the tripe. In fact, many chefs say it requires careful preparation because it is such a delicacy, not just an ordinary meal. The origins of the soup can be traced to the 16th century
Different regions of Mexico claim ownership of the soup. Some trace its beginning to the northern part of the country where it was a common food among the country people, who used many parts of the cow in the soup, including internal organs, feet, tail, and tongue. But others contend that the soup actually originated in the central part of the country.
There is red menudo, which is made in the city of Guadalajara and the northern state of Chihuahua. White menudo is made in Culiacan, Sinaloa. But both versions have the same base – the cow stomach.
But the real flavor comes from the onion, garlic, leeks, green onions, paprika, chiles, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. It is a dish that should be served nice and hot, according to cooks, preferably with a nice cold beer.
And that is a recipe anyone – even someone a little queasy at the thought of cow stomach – can love.
While we don’t mention menudo on our Mattito’s menu, if you’re willing to eat it, we’ll cook it for you. Just give the Mattito’s location nearest you a call so that our cooks will know to prepare it for you. We look forward to serving you soon.
Photo courtesy rpavich via flickr.com.