- Menudo (soup)
The soup Menudo is a traditional Mexican dish, made with beef stomach in a clear broth or with a red chili base (this variation is called menudo colorado). Usually, lime, chopped onions, and chopped cilantro are added, as well as crushed oregano and crushed red chili peppers. Boiled tripe has a tough chewy texture very similar to calamari, but with a completely unique flavor and smell.
Menudo is usually eaten with tortillas or other breads, such as bolillo. It is often chilled and reheated, which causes 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 also a familial food, in the preparation of which the entire family participates, and even serves as an occasion for social interaction with others, since oftentimes throngs of people with pots in hand will wait at the butcher's shop to buy their menudo, if their families no longer make it themselves.
Given that menudo is time and labor intensive to prepare—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, tripe, and tithe from small orchards." It is unknown if the soup came to be known as menudo since it was made up of tripe or if any of the other meanings, which are many, have something to do with it.
The word "menudo" in Mexico can mean the raw stomach meat as well as the stew. The word tripas (tripe) normally refers to the small intestines rather than the stomach; tripas are normally eaten in tacos rather than stews.
Menudo is time intensive, taking four to seven hours to make. The meat should be rinsed clean first. Menudo usually has tripe, honeycomb and "librillo" stomach 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. After the first three hours, the stomach meat 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 to avoid evaporation. Once it is almost done, add the hominy.
There are a number of regional variations on menudo. In northern Mexico, typically hominy (creation of hominy is one step in the production of tortilla dough) is added. In northwest states such as Sinaloa and Sonora usually only the blanco, or white, variation is seen; menudo blanco it is the same dish, with the difference 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 stew of sheep stomach, "pancitas" stew of beef stomach. 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.
Prepared menudo has been common in food stores and restaurants in cosmopolitan areas of the US since the mid-20th Century and in other areas with a significant Mexican population. Restaurants often feature it as a special on Friday and Saturday.
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 the Robert Ramos Scholarship Fund.
- ^ Arellano, Gustavo (2007). Ask a Mexican!. Simon and Schuster. pp. 148–49. ISBN 9781416540021. http://books.google.com/books?id=tQrwnU3WgUoC&pg=PA148.
- ^ 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 9781594488658. http://books.google.com/books?id=kCRVWMcNPEwC&pg=PA354.
- ^ http://buscon.rae.es/draeI/SrvltConsulta?TIPO_BUS=3&LEMA=menudo
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