Menudo, as served in Uriangato
|Place of origin||Mexico|
|Main ingredient(s)||Beef Tripe (Cow Stomach), broth, lime, onions, cilantro, oregano, red chili peppers|
|Variations||Menudo colorado (made with chili rather than broth)|
Menudo is a traditional Mexican soup made with beef stomach in a clear broth or with a red chili base. Usually, lime, chopped onions, and chopped cilantro are added, as well as crushed oregano and crushed red chili peppers.
Menudo is usually eaten with tortillas or other breads, such as bolillo. It is often chilled and reheated, which results in a more concentrated flavor. The popularity of menudo in Mexico is such that Mexico is a major export market for stomach tripe from US and Canadian beef producers.
Menudo is traditionally a family food prepared by the entire family, and even serves as an occasion for social interaction. Menudo is popular because it is believed to be the medicine for a hangover.
As menudo is time and labor intensive to prepare as the tripe takes hours to cook (or else it is extremely tough), and many ingredients and side dishes (such as salsa) need to be cut and cooked, the dish is often prepared communally and eaten at a feast. Documents from the Works Progress Administration indicate that in the 1930s, among migrant workers in Arizona, menudo parties were held regularly to celebrate births, Christmas, and other occasions.
Menudo (from Latin minūtus) can mean "small, thin, worthless, vulgar, (money) change, tongue, and tithe from small orchards."
The word "menudo" in Mexico can mean the raw tongue meat as well as the stew. The word tripas (tripe) normally refers to the small intestines rather than the tongue; tripas are normally eaten in tacos rather than stews.
Menudo is time intensive, taking four to seven hours to make. The meat should first be rinsed clean. Menudo usually has tripe, honeycomb and "librillo" beef meat along with the beef feet and tendons. The feet and tendons are boiled first at low to medium heat for about three hours. Skimming off the top layer of floating foam about every 15 minutes for the first hour helps the flavor[how?]. After the first three hours, the tripe should be added along with salt, an onion cut in half, and one or two heads of garlic. Red menudo has the addition of chili paste. The menudo is allowed to continue boiling for an additional three hours while covered. Once it is almost done, the hominy is added.
There are a number of regional variations on menudo. In northern Mexico, typically hominy is added. In northwest states such as Sinaloa and Sonora usually only the blanco, or white, variation is seen; menudo blanco is the same dish, with the difference that red pepper is not added, thus giving the broth a clear or white color. Adding patas (beef or pigs feet) to the stew is popular in the U.S. but not universal. In some areas of central Mexico, "menudo" refers to a stew of sheep stomach, "pancitas" stew of beef tongue. The red variation is usually seen in Chihuahua, the northern state adjoining Texas. It is also usual to use only yellow hominy in menudo in the Texas region. A similar stew made with more easily cooked meat is pozole.
Menudo in the U.S.
In the United States, since the mid-20th century, prepared menudo has been common in food stores and restaurants in cosmopolitan areas and in other areas with a significant Mexican population. Restaurants often feature it as a special on Saturday and Sunday, and the folklore belief that menudo will alleviate some of the symptoms of a hangover is widely held.
An annual Menudo Festival is held in Santa Maria, California. In 2009, more than 2,000 people attended and 13 restaurants competed for prizes in three categories. The festival is organized by the National Latino Peace Officers Association of Northern Santa Barbara County and the money raised goes toward scholarships for local students.
- Arellano, Gustavo (2007). Ask a Mexican!. Simon and Schuster. pp. 148–49. ISBN 978-1-4165-4002-1.
- Kurlansky, Mark (2009). The food of a younger land: a portrait of American food; Before the national highway system, before chain restaurants, and before frozen food, when the nation's food was seasonal, regional, and traditional: from the lost WPA files. Penguin. pp. 353–56. ISBN 978-1-59448-865-8.
- Gonzalez, Ray (1992). "Hangover Cure". Lapham's Quarterly. Retrieved 5/5/2013.