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.
I have a dedicated spice grinder (manufactured by Krups) to grind the chili powders for these recipes. It is considerably less expensive than purchasing generic chili powder and provides a spice with more body & intensity. I purchase a variety of dried chilies (Ancho, Guajillo, chipotle, Cascabel, pasilla, Serrano, hot New Mexico, Chinese Tien Tsin, for example) and grind them for my chili powder. You should experiment with the different flavors of dried chilies to develop your favorite blend. I keep the individual chili powders in left over Spice House containers using them for a variety of domestic & ethnic recipes.
One word of caution: after grinding dried chilies carefully remove the grinder lid taking care not to inhale the fine dust.
This recipe was provided by Forrest B