- For the soup:
- 1/2 pound dried hominy (also called giant white corn; maíz mote pelado)
- 1 head garlic, cut horizontally in half, loose papery outer layer removed
- 1 white onion, halved
- 3¾ teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste
- 3 pounds beef tripe, preferably equal parts honeycomb tripe and book (bible) tripe
- 2 pounds calves’ feet, cut into 2 to 4 pieces
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 15 sprigs fresh mint, tied with kitchen twine
- 6 quarts water
- For the chile puree:
- 4 dried colorado or guajillo chiles, or a mix, stemmed and seeded
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly toasted
- For the garnishes:
- 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
- 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, leaves and upper stems
- 1 cup ﬁnely chopped white onion
- 5 or 6 limes, halved
- Ground or crushed dried chiltepín chile or dried chile piquín or chile de árbol
- Dried oregano
- Warm corn tortillas, corn tostadas, or crunchy bread for serving (optional)
- To make the soup:
If using dried hominy, soak it in water to cover for 12 to 24 hours; drain in a colander and rinse well. Place the hominy in a large pot, add 4 quarts water, one half of the garlic head, and an onion half. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium, skim oﬀ the foam, cover partially, and simmer for 2 ½ to 3 hours, until the hominy “blooms,” or opens like a ﬂower. Add 3/4 teaspoon of the salt, stir, and remove from the heat. Remove the onion and garlic and discard; set the hominy aside.
- Meanwhile, rinse the tripe and calves’ feet, if using, in several changes of cold water. In a container large enough to hold the tripe and calves’ feet, combine the vinegar, 4 cups water, and 2 teaspoons of the salt and stir to dissolve the salt. Add the tripe, calves’ feet, and enough additional water to cover and soak for 30 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse well. Cut the tripe into bite-size pieces, 1 to 1½ inches.
- Combine 5 quarts of the water and the remaining onion and garlic half in a very large soup pot or a stockpot. If using the calves’ feet, add them to the pot and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes. Skim oﬀ any foam. Add the tripe to the pot, along with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, the oregano, and mint-sprig bundle, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 4 hours, or until the tripe is soft and tender but still has some texture. Remove the garlic and onion and discard.
- Meanwhile, make the chile puree:
Place the dried chiles and garlic in a small saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the chiles are softened. Remove from the heat and transfer the chiles and garlic to a blender, along with 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Add the cumin and coriander seeds and puree until smooth. Set aside.
- To finish the soup:
If you used the calves’ feet, remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool until you can handle them. Then remove the meaty and gelatinous pieces and discard the bones. Cut the meat and gelatinous bits into smaller pieces and stir back into the pot.
- Add 4 cups hot water to the tripe and bring back to a simmer. Add the chile puree and the cooked hominy and its broth and stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer and simmer for another 20 to 30 minutes to blend the ﬂavors. Taste and adjust the salt.
- Arrange the garnishes in small bowls on the table, and set out the tortillas, tostadas, or bread. Serve and let your guests customize their menudo.