As a fitting end to the holiday season: great food & wine, good friends, and premium time with the family, I offer you my preparation of Menudo Rojo, a red chile, tripe stew thickened with gelatin from a cow's hoof and fortified with hominy, the lye-treated corn from which masa, the dough for corn tortillas, is made. Though it makes a good, hearty meal anytime, Menudo Rojo is especially popular on Sunday for a very simple reason: it is high in the B vitamins & enzymes said to mollify the troubled stomach for those who have, perhaps, overindulged the night before.
1. Put tripe, hoof pieces & pig’s head into a large pot & cover with cold water by 3” – about 18 quarts. Bring to a boil over high heat, skim foam, reduce heat and then simmer for 30 minutes. Add bay leaves, onions, garlic & chilies and continue simmering until the tripe is soft (4 to 5 hours).
2. Remove & set aside cooked tripe and pig head. Drain stock through sieve discarding hoof, bay leaves, onions, garlic & chile remnants. When cool, cut tripe into 1” squares and remove cheek meat from pig’s head discarding bones.
3. Return filtered stock, tripe & pork cheek meat to stock pot. Add crushed tomatoes, hominy, chili powder, oregano, cumin and salt & pepper to taste. Simmer until tripe is very soft, and soup is thick (1½ - 2 hours).
4. Serve with warm corn tortillas, lime wedges, chopped cilantro & green onions.
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