Tips for preparing this Mexican soup

There is a Sonoran soup for every wish and occasion. Wild vegetable soups studded with chickpeas, corn and cheese, fortified with milk, thick carrot cream, earthy bean stews, red pozoles with mounds of lettuce and radishes, and “poor” pozoles made with grain and just enough chunks of beef and bone for a distinctive twist .

One particular Mexican soup is particularly revered, touted as a magical cure for hangovers, and served up for many holidays and family gatherings. It’s a soup I’ve always had a hard time swallowing, or more specifically, smelling. Yes, I’m talking about the dreaded, stinking Menudo.

That’s where I said it. It stinks.

Menudo is often ordered with “puros granitos” or “sin pancitas por favor”. Only grains, referring to the nixtamal, or without tripe, like cooking the cow stomach, but omitting it from the bowl somehow removes the stomach stench.

It will not.

Sonoran gastronomy is almost magical in its ability to extract complexity from every ingredient through simple cooking methods that create something greater than the sum of its parts, but the magic draws a hard line with tripe.

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What is menudo?

For a more enjoyable Menudo cooking experience, clean and cook tripe before adding it to the pot.

Menudo, like many rural dishes found around the world, was created as a way to utilize those parts of the cow that might not have been considered the most delicious and give it a purpose. Organ meats like tripe are nutrient dense, high in minerals and protein, and deserve better than to go to waste.

A good menudo is a clear broth with just a hint of gelatinous thickness that clings pleasantly to the palate. Depending on how much tripe is added to the soup, a slightly mineral quality comes to the broth, but largely the earthy sweetness of the corn is said to dominate.

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