Menudo soup is a very popular dish in our country. It is a stew made from beef tripe; depending on the region, it is prepared and named in different ways.
In the northern states of Mexico, it is called Menudo; in the central region, it is called panza or pancita; and in the south, particularly in the Yucatan Peninsula, it is known as mondongo.
It is believed that Menudo soup is heavily influenced by Spanish gastronomy, particularly callos a la madrileña.
However, in Mexico, the dish was adapted to local ingredients, and, of course, chile and several Mexican spices were added.
As I mentioned in the title of this article, Menudo soup is considered an effective hangover remedy because of the mixture of chiles and herbs such as oregano, bay leaf, and cilantro.
In some places, it is often served at parties such as weddings, quinceañeras, baptisms, and national holidays.
It is also common to find it in flea markets and traditional “mercados,” where you can enjoy it on the weekends.
What does Menudo soup taste like?
The flavor of Menudo is herbaceous and spicy with a strong “greasy-beef” aftertaste, which is why it is considered the perfect remedy to relieve hangovers.
It obtains these characteristics thanks to the mixture of chiles with which it is cooked: ancho, guajillo, piquín, pasilla, and chiltepín.
In addition, it is usually seasoned with oregano, bay leaf, spearmint, coriander, and saffron.
How to make Menudo soup
The preparation of the Menudo soup varies depending on the geographical location.
In the north of the country, for example, it is cooked with corn kernels, while in Guanajuato, the offal is fried with onion, red wine, and orange juice.
In the northern state of Nuevo León, they add marrow; in Oaxaca, vegetables are added to the broth.
Menudo soup ingredients (4 servings)
- 4 liters of water
- 1 ½ kilograms of beef belly in chunks (super clean!)
- 1 onion cut in quarters
- 7 garlic cloves
- Pozole corn kernels (optional)
- 1 bay leaf
- Dried red chiles (ancho, guajillo, pasilla, chiltepin; about 3 each)
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
How to prepare the menudo
In a large pot, heat the water over low heat. Then add the pieces of beef tripe, followed by 2 cloves of garlic and the bay leaf.
Let it cook for two hours until the pancita (beef tripe) is soft. You must note when the pancita is soft and not overcooked.
For the sauce, clean the chiles, remove the stems and devein them. Then let them soak in hot water for about two hours.
Then blend the chiles with a bit of water to soak them, 4 cloves of garlic, cumin, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.
Take the sauce and the corn and add them to the pot, and let them boil for another 10 minutes while the ingredients are integrated.
For garnish, I recommend you add chopped onion, oregano, spearmint leaves, and lemon.
Now it’s time to savor a delicious menudo soup!
What is the difference between Menudo and Pozole?
Pozole is a stew containing corn, meat, and chili, to which raw vegetables such as lettuce and radish are added, according to your taste, as well as lemon juice and sauces, if you prefer it spicier.
It is a pre-Columbian preparation called “pozolli,” which means foam because the corn kernels (cacahuazintle) open like a flower when cooked and give the impression of foam.
History has it that pozolli was very popular during the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors.
Emperor Moctezuma was served this dish during the Aztec festivities in honor of the god Xipe.
The original was the white pozole, but today there are different ingredient variations, and even though it is prepared with pork, it can also have beef or fish.
In the past, the most laborious part was preparing the corn since it had to be shelled kernel by kernel, but now it is available semi-cooked, frozen or canned.
There are green, red, and white pozoles, which can be made of pork head, loin, backbone, or chicken breast, depending on the place of origin.
Unlike pozole, Menudo soup is made with beef tripe and no corn kernels.
It is cooked for several hours with garlic and other spices. Its broth is red, not very thick, and is served with chopped oregano, serrano chile, onion, and lemon.