When traveling we always try to visit local eateries to get a real feel for the area and its people. While in Palm Springs we ate lunch at a local Mexican restaurant owned and operated by a local family.
The smells were rich and strong and the food looked delicious. We ordered the Menudo (which I had never tried before and looking around everyone was eating) when the cook herself brought us our soup; I added the recommended spices and garnishments. I knew by the first bite this was a very unique dish.
Menudo is a traditional Mexican dish made with tripe and pigs feet. Being the farm girl that I am I was familiar with these so called delicacies…however, for my taste I knew I had to somehow capture this rich and spicy flavor without the delicacies. Below is my faux Menudo recipe, and I must admit it turned out great!
Keep in mind this dish takes some time, so if you are in the mood to cook and spend some time in your kitchen this is a perfect recipe.
By The Gourmet Farm Girl
2 pounds smoked Pork Hocks
2 cups chopped smoked ham
1 pound traditional Bratwursts (see note below)
1 15.5 oz can white Hominy plus the liquid
1 large onion chopped
5-6 tomatillos diced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon dried cilantro
1/2 cup red chili powder
1 tablespoon Mendo seasoning (found at Mexican grocery)
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano (found at Mexican grocery) there is a difference
1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes
Bouquet garni as follows:6 garlic cloves (bruised but not peeled)
1 tablespoon peppercorns
2 sprigs thyme
3 bay leaves
Wrap in cheesecloth and tie in a bundle with kitchen string
Dried pequin chilies
Chopped green onions
chopped fresh cilantro
In a large stock pot over high heat add 3 quarts of water, salt, bouquet garni and pork hocks; cover and bring to a boil; lower heat and cook hocks till tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove hocks (let cool) discard the bouquet garni.
Over low heat; add to the broth the onions, tomatillos, chili powder, cilantro, Menudo seasoning, oregano and pepper flakes; simmer for 20- 30 minutes.
Meanwhile pull any meat form the pork hocks and add to the broth. Cut bratwurst and smoked ham into bite size pieces; add to the broth. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the hominy and the liquid; continue to simmer for an additional 5-7 minutes.
Ladle into bowls and garnish as desired
Serve with toasted bolillos (Mexican bread made of corn flour) or tortillas.
Makes 8-10 servings
Note: Bratwurst are made of veal, pork and beef. They work well with this recipe because Menudo can also contain beef.