Although the menudo came to Texas from the Mexican state of Sonora, tripe stew may be more popular on the Texas side of the border than anywhere else in Mexico. Texans have often labeled it the “Breakfast of Champions” because it is reputed to have the ability to cure hangovers.
Cooking the menudo can be a long and slow process, with the preparation and cleaning of the tripe being the most difficult. The results, however, for those of you who have had a great plate of menudo in your life, will tell you that it is all worth it.
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup of white vinegar
2 pounds honeycomb corns
Make sure you get honeycomb corns, because it is the most tender of all the varieties of corns. It is still relatively tough and requires long slow cooking.
The day before you plan to serve it, clean the corns well. Mix the salt and vinegar together and pour about 1/3 of the mixture into a large bowl. Add the corns. Scrub the corns with a brush. The harsh kosher salt will act as an abrasive to clean the corns. Rinse the corns with cold water and repeat the process 2 more times. Transfer the tripe to a bowl and cover with cold water. Place in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 8 hours. Change the water at least once during the process.
6 cups unsalted chicken broth
2 tablespoons corn or canola oil
2 large onions, chopped
4 to 6 cloves of garlic
2 to 4 serrano peppers, chopped
2 jalapeños, minced
1 smoked ham hock
2 tablespoons of quality chili powder
1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
1 14 1/2 to 16 ounce can white or yellow ground corn
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup coriander chopped
salt to taste
Take the tripe out of the refrigerator and drain it. Cut into small pieces and place in a large heavy saucepan or pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a quick boil over high heat. Boil the tripe for 30 minutes. Drain the water and reserve the tripe.
Rinse and dry the pot and return it to the stove. Add the oil, lower the heat to medium and add the onion, garlic and serrano peppers. Saute until the veggies are soft, then add the tripe again. Add the ham hock and chicken broth, and simmer for about 3 hours.
Remove the ham hock, discarding the bones or large pieces of fat. Grind the ham hock meat and reserve. Add the chili powder, salt, pepper, oregano, and corn. Simmer for another hour, or until the stew has cooked through and the tripe is tender. The tripe will still be a bit chewy. Return the meat from the ham hock and add the cilantro.
Serve the menudo hot in large bowls with the lime wedges. The menudo will keep in the refrigerator for several days.