I was craving menudo like crazy and thought Sunday was a perfect day to make it. Last night consisted of a lot of drinking, and menudo can be a wonderful and delicious hangover cure. Growing up, menudo was one of my favorite dishes. I loved when my mom would make it for me. If you don’t know what menudo is, it is a mexican soup. Its main ingredient is tripe, which is the lining of a cows stomach. It’s filled with an amazing blend of chili peppers, garlic, herbs and hours of jam packed flavor. Being in Hawaii, it’s really hard to find tripe. When the commissary carries it, it’s best to grab it then or else you will be waiting months to see it there again. It is perfectly fine to freeze for later usage. Here is how I make menudo.
Prepare 2 1/2 pounds of honey comb tripe by cutting it into bite size pieces. A cleaver is a great way to chop this up because raw tripe is very tough.
Place in a bowl and mix in the juice of 2 lemons, making sure it is fully coated. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. This will tenderize and remove odor from your tripe.
While you’re waiting on that to chill, take a tablespoon of crushed chili pequin or red pepper flakes and add just enough water to cover them. Microwave for 4 minutes to soften.
Once you are done heating up your chili pequins, add a little more water and put into a food processor or blender. Blend for 15-30 seconds. Put this into a small dish and set aside for later usage.
Once 30 minutes is up, drain and rinse the chilled tripe and add to a 6-8 quart stock pot. Along with that add in 2 smoked ham hocks, 3 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon of dry crushed red pepper and the chili pequin paste you made.
Add water to the pot, just enough to cover the tripe.
Bring this mixture to a boil, cover, and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook covered for 4 hours or until the tripe is tender.
When 4 hours is up, add 3 tablespoons of chili powder, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 teaspoon of cumin, a can of hominy 1/2 of a diced onion and 2 cups of water. Simmer for 30 more minutes.
Season with salt, pepper and crushed oregano. Serve and enjoy!