MENUDO : Tripe Soup
Menudo is considered a surefire cure for just about anything from a hangover to a broken heart. It’s true: the world does look sunnier over a huge bowl of steaming menudo with all the garnishes and a cold beer. Menudo is a Mexican Food with a unique flavor and rich, gelatinous broth.
You may use either honeycomb tripe, but be sure it is already well cleaned when you buy it. Hunting down the unusual ingredients can be time-consuming, so this recipe makes enough for eight servings—plenty to enjoy now and freeze for later.
6 guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 cup hot water
1 pound tripe, rinsed
1 (28-ounce) can hominy and its liquid
1 calf’s foot, split (see Note)
1 head garlic, split into cloves
1 white onion, peeled and cut into wide strips
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 dried bay leaf
1 tablespoon whole coriander seed
8 to 10 cups Caldo de Res or water
Warm corn tortillas
Whole dried Mexican oregano
Ground hot pequín chile or crushed red chiles
Diced white onion
Chopped fresh cilantro
Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chiles and toast on both sides, turning occasionally and pressing down with a spatula, until they soften and blister.
Remove from the pan. When the chiles are cool enough to handle, tear them into small pieces and place in a heatproof bowl. Add the hot water and soak the chiles, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
Transfer the chiles with their soaking liquid to a blender and puree until very smooth.
(For a smoother texture, you can press the puree through a fine-mesh sieve, if you like.) Transfer the puree to 6-quart slow cooker.
Rinse the tripe and cut into 1-inch pieces. Add to slow cooker along with the hominy, calf’s foot, garlic, onion, salt, peppercorns, bay leaf, coriander, and broth.
Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Remove the calf’s foot. When it’s cool enough tohandle, pick off any bits of meat and return them to the pot, discarding all the bonesand skin.
Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning. Serve very hot in large bowls, with warm tortillas on the side and small bowls of the garnishes on the table.
If you like, you can substitute 2 pounds of sawn beef shin bones for the calf’s foot.