This dish shares the same name with the latin boy band of the ’80s that my sisters were so crazy about. I remember our room with so many posters of Menudo in their colorful spandex and headbands. My two sisters and their friends were crushing on the four “older” members of the group and they “gave” Ricky Martin to me because he was too young for them and I was about his age. They would tease me but really I didn’t have a crush on Ricky ( okay, maybe just a little), I was too young for that, I very much prefer the dish over them although I liked their songs, danced and lip sync to them even and screamed with my sisters whenever it was on the radio.
Menudo the dish, is as colorful as Menudo the boy band and their costumes. It’s a mix of diced pork, liver and veggies simmered until tender and flavorful, not so different from picadillo but this is even more delicious (for me). I am proud of my menudo, it’s simply delicious, so far from the menudo that I used to cook in college where everything was floating in an orange-colored broth.
Menudo traditionally uses diced fresh tomatoes and atsuete (annato seeds) oil or water for the sauce, but if you cannot find annato seeds, a good substitute in my opinion is to use tomato paste which I always do, but that’s just me, you can of course just use tomato sauce. I used fish sauce to season this, well almost all Filipino dishes actually. It makes a difference in the taste, it gives every dish a little something, something not just saltiness.
saute garlic, onion, pork until caramelized; add raisins
season with salt and pepper then add tomato paste, bell peppers and cayenne
add water, boil and simmer until tender add carrots and potatoes
add cheese last and cook for one more minute
serve with steamed rice
RECIPE FOR MENUDO
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red onion, minced
500 g pork shoulders, diced or cubed
200 g pork liver, cut the same size as pork
1/3 cup raisins
1-2 red bellpeppers, cut into big chunks
2 medium potatoes, cut same size as the pork
2 medium carrots, cut the same size as the pork
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup annato (atsuete) water (2 tablespoon of annato seeds plus enough water)
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/3 cup frozen or canned green peas
2-4 tablespoons grated cheese (depending on how cheesy you want it)
note: You may also add about 1/3 cup of sliced hotdogs or chorizo to make it even better; I usually do when it’s for special occasion.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Saute the minced garlic and onion, add the pork once the onion turned opaque or transparent. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until pork is browned and caramelized; add in the pork liver, saute until liver is half-cooked, season with paprika, cayenne and add the raisins.
Add in tomato paste and the red bellpepper. Add 1 1/2 cups water, bring to a boil and simmer until pork is tender. Add carrots and potatoes; season with black pepper and salt or fish sauce if using, bring to a boil again and simmer until the veggies are tender.
Add the peas, cook for one minute then add the cheese, let simmer until cheese melts before turning off heat. Done! Serve this with hot steamed rice.
Thanks for reading and Have a nice day!