Have you heard that menudo is, well, disgusting? Not tasty? Just plain ugh!?
If so, then you haven’t had menudo done right, because when menudo is cooked and made correctly – OMG! It’s heaven on earth.
We kid you not.
For the uninitiated, menudo is a traditional Mexican soup made primarily of – are you ready? – a cow stomach (tripe) broth that has red chili peppers as its base. The soup also includes chopped onions, lime and chopped cilantro. Crushed oregano and red chili peppers also often make their way into menudo.
First, a truth: menudo does stink when cooking the cow stomach. It just does. The smell has nothing to do with how good the soup will – or won’t – taste once completed. The tripe itself can look repulsive.
Yes, you read that correctly: menudo is a soup made from a cow’s stomach (tripe).
Some people describe the smell of cooking tripe to be akin to the odor emanating from a barnyard. Understand, however, that, when done right, finished menudo doesn’t smell of poop, it smells of the chili, oregano, and other spices. It smells pretty darn…OK.
Yet (also when done right) menudo tastes delicious!
Menudo done right should have the tripe cooked to the point where it’s tender (but will still have a bit of the rubbery “feel” of tripe). The broth should taste something like tortilla soup, but a bit less smoky. The tripe itself should be mild, allowing you to savor all flavors brought about by the chilis, cilantro, oregano, etc.
Menudo traditionally is a family food and is made for the entire household. It can take a very long time to make – tripe take hours to cook—and so it’s often associated with love – someone took hours to make this – and the warmth of family. Menudo often is cooked by several people at once, making it something of a communal activity, and then eaten as a feast.
Many people believe menudo makes a great hangover remedy.
The soup often is served at breakfast.
We don’t offer menudo on our menu here at Mattito’s (we’re not open in the early mornings, after all). But if you must have it, contact us and we’ll see what we can do. (Be sure to give us a few days’ notice because of the time it takes to cook menudo right.)
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