Menudo is a dish of latin origins. Its Filipino roots probably stem from the Spanish who colonized the country in the 1500’s. Menudo is extremely popular in Mexico where the dish is traditionally prepared with tripe and is believed to be a cure for hangovers. We don’t make it with tripe in the Philippines, nor have I ever heard of anyone eating it to combat a hangover, however, the dish is just as popular on the islands as it is in Mexico. Many fiestas and holiday gatherings include a platter of Menudo on the table.
My family loves Menudo. In fact, it’s probably No. 1’s second favorite dish next to Mechado (which is a very similar stew except made with beef). We always serve Menudo with hot, white rice which provides the perfect backdrop to absorb every bit of the flavorful sauce. The tender morsels of pork and vegetables swimming in a rich, tomato-based gravy can be very addicting. It’s hard not to go back for seconds!
Yet for all its deliciously complex, slow-braised flavor, the dish is surprisingly easy to prepare. You can substitute Prego Sauce for the tomato sauce if you like which I usually do when I’m making a large amount for a party simply because Prego Sauce comes in those gigantic jars. You could also make this in a slow cooker. Just put all your ingredients in the crock pot and turn it on low for 6-8 hours. Yum!
- 3-4 lbs. fatty or well-marbled boneless pork (shoulder, butt, etc.)
- 5 carrots, peeled
- 6 potatoes, peeled
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 5-6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 large can (28 ozs.) tomato sauce or Prego Sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 can diced tomatoes (undrained)
- 1 large red or green bell pepper
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Cut the pork into ½-inch cubes.
- Dice the carrots, potatoes and bell pepper into ½-inch cubes.
- In a large pot, fry the onions and garlic until soft but not brown.
- Add the pork, carrots, tomato sauce, water, and diced tomatoes (with the juice).
- Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the pork and carrots are tender. If you think the dish is too dry, add more tomato sauce till the sauce reaches the consistency you like.
- Add the potatoes and bell pepper and continue simmering until the potatoes are soft.
- Season with salt and pepper to your taste.
NOTE: The traditional Filipino recipe also calls for the addition of 1-2 lbs. of cubed pork liver, 1 can of garbanzo beans and 3/4 cup of raisins. I omit these ingredients because my kids don’t like them in Menudo, but you can certainly add them if you want to go the more traditional route.