04 Sep2006


A reader emailed me last week to see if I had a good recipe for menudo. I didn’t. In fact, I have never cooked menudo until yesterday. Actually, it isn’t one of my favorite dishes at all, although I have probably eaten a fair share of it in my lifetime at office canteens, school cafeterias, etc. It is that quintessential menudo2carinderia food, in that a little can go a mighty long way… the tiny dish per order is loaded with one spoonful of meat and potatoes and an excessive amount of sauce that you can then ladle over your rice to stretch your viand. Sometimes menudo is drier than wet, blacker than tan and ordinary versus pleasant. My objective was to create a menudo that I could learn to love and have at home a few times a year… I think I was generally successful on my first attempt.

To make, I boiled a piece of pork about 4 cups worth in some water with a bay leaf and some peppercorns. Skim the scum off the top of the boiling water. Once cooked and somewhat tender, remove menudo3the pork and cut into small cubes about ¼ inch square or slightly larger. Save the pork broth. Menudo, by the way, refers to the cut or dice, meaning little/small things and is unlike the menudos from Mexico is a soup rich in tripe, hominy and chilli… Next cut up some pork liver into similar sizes as the pork, adjusting for the fact that the liver will shrink once it hits the heat. Next prepare the other ingredients: 1 chopped white onion, several cloves of garlic chopped, a chopped red and green capsicum or sweet bell pepper, one chopped chorizo bilbao, a can of chickpeas or garbanzos, drained, one or two potatoes, cubed and some tomato paste, tomato sauce and sweet or spicy paprika.

To cook, heat up a heavy enameled pot, add some olive or vegetable oil and when hot, add the chopped onions and stir. Next add the garlic and stir until the aroma is wafting through your home. Next add the chorizo bilbao and stir again. Add the chopped pork liver and stir vigorously to cook the liver. Add the chopped capsicum or sweet bell peppers. Add the chopped pork, several cups of pork broth, salt and pepper liberally and stir to mix. Add several tablespoons of tomato paste, a cup or so of tomato sauce, the paprika, the garbanzos and potatoes and let this simmer/boil for about 10 minutes. If it appears to be getting too dry, add some pork broth or some water/tomato sauce. I tend to like mine a bit saucy but not overly so. If you want the sauce to thicken, take out about 1 cup and mash some potatoes and mix with the broth and return this all to the menudo in the pot. How did it taste? Terrific. I am not a fan of pork liver but it seemed tolerable in this dish. I might try this without the liver at all (I suppose that would be a different dish altogether) and I would let it stew longer. The chorizo and paprika are my additions in an effort to pump up the flavor and elevate the dish from basic to intermediate… and I think it worked rather well!



  1. wysgal says:

    Menudo brings back memories … as a child of the 80s, boy band Menudo was all the rage and I used to equate in my mind each of the ingredients of the stew with one of the boy band members (i.e. potatoes were Ricky, garbanzos were Robby, meat bits were Charlie …). Borderline cannibalistic really, but it made for fun eating.

    Sep 4, 2006 | 8:26 am


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  3. gonzo says:

    haha i guess we’ve all had enough ‘office canteen’ menudo to last us til the next life. I would never actually attempt to cook it, but the paprika and chorizo are logical and welcome additions to an otherwise ho-hum dish. If i had to cook this i would probably throw in two handfuls of siling pangisgang, or maybe a handful of labuyo.

    And yes i do wonder how our menudo came to be; Mexican menudo is an entirely different dish. It’s sort of a clear tripe soup with hominy as you say MM, usually meant to be eaten when hung over. i’ve has that menudo as well and, um…one can do better things with tripe i reckon (it’s pretty boring. shhh).

    Sep 4, 2006 | 8:32 am

  4. Didi says:

    hiya MM!! :) This looks absolutely delicious!!! :)

    Sep 4, 2006 | 9:25 am

  5. Gigi says:

    I love menudo, MM! What chorizo de bilbao did you use? I like the carinderia quality — yung may red hotdog! I don’t like garbanzos….

    Sep 4, 2006 | 9:35 am

  6. Apicio says:

    Excellent for filling pan de sal, (petit baguette or your ciabatta) specially when the soupyness is allowed to reduce to a much thicker sauce. Is there any special technique for cooking liver that prevents the pieces from turning as hard as balut stone?

    Btw offal and giblets are called menudo in Latin America so are most dishes made from them.

    Sep 4, 2006 | 9:41 am

  7. connie says:

    Yes, the Mexican menudo is a soup and tastes totally different. They don’t use tomato sauce or tomato paste and uses a menudo chili mix powder and have a very strong chili taste. The Mexican menudo I had, have corn kernels and tortilla strips like the one they use in tortilla soups. It was quite good actually, until I saw the tuwalya at the bottom of the soup.
    As for the Pinoy menudo, I also had my fair share of school cafeteria menudo. My mom once in a while would use boneless chicken instead of pork. She fries the potato first before adding to the dish and uses Sky Flakes to thicken the sauce.

    Sep 4, 2006 | 9:51 am

  8. connie says:

    LOL at the reference to balut stones!
    Apicio, I do not know if it helps, but I do remember my mom saying to cook it low and slow. Obviosly if it’s as hard as balut stones, you’ve over cooked them. I guess mom’s old technique of taking a sample out of the flame, poke if blood still oozes out, testing for just the right softness and being patient about it, could work?

    Sep 4, 2006 | 9:59 am

  9. ThePseudoshrink says:

    I usually add Reno (and only Reno, dunno why) liver spread to my menudo, aside from the liver cubes.

    Sep 4, 2006 | 10:54 am

  10. MasPinaSarap says:

    Three words: Mama Sita’s Mix :)

    Sep 4, 2006 | 11:34 am

  11. izang says:

    when my mom cooks menudo, she marinates the pork for at least 3 hours in toyo and calamansi…she sautes garlic and onions, when translucent, add the marinated pork…stirs for a bit and lets it saute until slightly cooked…then she adds the tomato sauce, red/green bell peppers, raisins and potatoes, stirs it a bit then let it cook over medium fire until the potatoes are cooked but not mushy…adding water when becoming too dry…no liver or hotdog…her finishing touch is sprinkling it with cheese…and i think it is better the next day….ay kasarap!

    Sep 4, 2006 | 1:02 pm

  12. lee says:

    Menudo is a carinderia’s My Way. Always present, always different. Just like a drunken man’s rendition of Frankie’s song.

    Yes, there were times, Im sure you knew
    the pork was tough, more than I could chew.
    But through it all, when there was doubt,
    I ate it up and I had gout.
    I faced it all and I stood tall;
    And did it my way.

    Sep 4, 2006 | 1:27 pm

  13. Olive says:

    Hi MM! We usually use chicken thigh fillet, chicken liver and canned sausages for our menudo. And to thicken the sauce, we add about 1 cup grated cheese. Yum!

    Sep 4, 2006 | 1:42 pm

  14. angela says:

    marketman, you should try the menudo of ilocos norte. it’s the best i’ve had.a little on the dry side and has a bit of sukang iloco. grabe, sarap with lots of steaming rice!

    Sep 4, 2006 | 2:43 pm

  15. Apicio says:

    Off topic: Oh thanks Connie, I was hoping to hear a trick such as a temperature range to avoid so as not to trigger this mortis-like rigor to set in or perhaps plunging it in some cold bath to reverse it once it has. Not that I need it now but I have been trying to duplicate this toasted pork adobo with beef liver we had as kids.

    Sep 4, 2006 | 8:16 pm

  16. Marketman says:

    Gigi, I used this leftover cheapo chorizo bilbao from the grocery…it worked well. I just couldn’t get myself to try hotdogs or anything like that. We had a cook once that threw in a can of pork and beans!!! Apicio, liver must be cooked rare to remain soft, but I think cooties of the worst kind. Beef liver in Italy is sliced thinly and brought to the table barely cooked…it tastes delicious… Connie, sky flakes? Hmm, interesting. Lee, you are too funny. Do you just make up these songs on command? Yipes, that’s a talent, you realize.

    Sep 4, 2006 | 10:01 pm

  17. mardie says:

    LOL@Lee….that was reaallly funny. tamang-tama, my spouse and i are off to wal-mart and right now im thinking of getting the ingredients and cooking menudo when we get back. wish me luck, this will be my first time to cook menudo. again and as always, you’re one of a kind MM. keep posting what youre posting and by the time i come home next year for a vacation my family wont recognize me any more hehehe. but hey, im not complaining ;-)

    Sep 5, 2006 | 8:32 am

  18. CecileJ says:

    Try using beef liver. I prefer it to pork. And add it last so it doesn’t overcook & harden into “balut stones”.

    Sep 5, 2006 | 10:54 am

  19. goodtimer says:

    I remember when my mother in law cooked menudo for a party and my husband referred to it as “menutatas”, pointing out her menudo had more potatoes than meat (i guess it was a method to make the dish as cheapo as possible). LOL

    Sep 5, 2006 | 2:01 pm

  20. connie says:

    “Connie, sky flakes? Hmm, interesting.”
    I know, weird in a way, but it works in her dish. The sauce comes out not to thick not to thin either, as oppose to using flour or mashing the potatoes to thicken the sauce I guess. I just mashed my potatoes, it’s easier than look for them crackers around town. LOL. She just crush the crackers to almost powder and add as desired to the dish.

    Sep 6, 2006 | 1:55 pm

  21. millet says:

    Lee, you are soooo funny..I tried singing it and ended up with the song in my head the whole day……aarrrrggghhh!!!

    Sep 8, 2006 | 10:40 pm

  22. atwe says:

    sorry, i know it’s way after the last post but it’s my first time here and i just had to say “pretty good for a first menudo”. paprika is always great with a tomato-based stew for color, flavor and aroma. as for the chorizo — have you ever tried making callos?
    adding crackers is a bit like the technique that filipino cooks of 50 years or so ago used to thicken their sauces, but using crumbled biscocho instead — ang hirap ng hanapin ng biscocho LOL

    Sep 19, 2006 | 12:02 am

  23. rina says:

    just cooked menudo tonight…the Goya seasoning packets (the one with azafran)works well in lieu of the paprika….

    Nov 28, 2006 | 10:02 am

  24. sometime_lurker says:

    Hi, MM.

    Love your site.

    Found this recipe on another site though:

    The ingredients and the entire process seemed very interesting; and I guess by reading through your site, I’m imagining you’d wanna check this out on your own.


    May 25, 2007 | 2:57 pm

  25. Marketman says:

    sometime_lurker, thanks for the link…yes, there are many recipes for menudo out there… most are probably quite delicious…this is just such a homey dish for most pinoys…

    May 25, 2007 | 8:15 pm


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