Menudo Rojo at Taqueria Playa Tropical

The other day I decided to take a lunch break to get away from the computer and go to a  Mexican restaurant called Taqueria Playa Tropical (Facebook page here) in New Westminster, BC. I heard that they had some mighty fine tacos and some authentic soups.

There were four soups on the menu, and I decided to have to most authentic one (in my mind) that may not be served in many Taqueria’s in the lower mainland. My choice was the Menudo Rojo – a Mexican soup with beef tripe and beef feet!

The Verdict of Menudo Rojo?
I first tried the Menudo Rojo and it was wonderful! It had a very warm spiced broth with a lot of depth to it. I’m guessing that it may have been simmered with a lot of TLC and perhaps around five different mexican spices. When I added the finely chopped onions and cilantro and tried my second spoonful, the soup sang in my mouth with some zippy freshness! Yum!

But I then tried a piece of tripe…

I decided to try some of the spongy looking tripe. I didn’t like the texture of the tripe. Felt fatty on my tonque and very much tasteless. I’m usually pretty open to different kinds of foods (IE  liver, heart, bone marrow and pigs feet) but tripe did not fancy me what-so-ever for texture and taste. While I was eating the soup, I decided to Google `”tripe” and I read what Wikipedia had to say about it here:

Beef Tripe: Beef tripe is usually made from only the first three chambers of a cow’s stomach: the rumen (blanket/flat/smooth tripe), the reticulum (honeycomb and pocket tripe), and the omasum (book/bible/leaf tripe).

Not a good idea to read about during my meal. I was fixated on the reticulum part and it grossed me out a tad. I couldn’t swallow another piece of tripe – the texture just bugged me. I slurped up the broth leaving behind feet and tripe all by their lonesome.

What I Would Change With This Soup

If I was to serve up a more contemporary Menudo Rojo and win over some not-so-adventurous soup lovers, I would sieve the broth and omit the tripe and feet bones from the final presentation of the soup. If those body parts main purpose were to give great depth to the broth I really don’t think they serve a purpose in my bowl – adios amigos! I would perhaps add some shaved or thin slices of beef to the clean broth and keep the side of onion, lime, cilantro mix to be added at the table. I would also add a great big dollop of sour cream and serve the soup in a shallow bowl with a full sprig of cilantro as a garnish.

Don’t get me wrong, I will return to this hidden Mexican gem in New Westminster to try their soft tacos! With my soup, I had a stellar tasting mushroom Quesadilla that came with a pretty flower of sour cream! Not a crumb left behind.

 

Soup Mistress Rating for Menudo Rojo:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (3.5/5)
Presentation: (3.5/5)
Taste (broth only): (4/5)

Crock-Pot Mexican Chili Beef Soup

Crock-Pot Mexican Chili Beef Soup

Picture 1 of 11

The completed Crock-Pot Mexican Chili Beef Soup with Goat Yogurt and Cilantro as garnish.

Puddy Salivating

In the wintertime I like to make a thick chili with stewing beef in my Crock-Pot. I  prepare all the ingredients in the morning and turn on the Crock-Pot all day. Unfortunately, my all day Crock-Pot cooking drives my dog crazy. He seems to hang out more in the kitchen smelling around and salivating – poor fella.

But yesterday,  I decided to take my regular chili recipe and make it a little different by adding a fair bit of tasty broth. So, I am going to call it Crock-Pot Mexican Chili Beef Soup instead.

The verdict? In the past, I would just add more water to make my chili thinner, but with this recipe I added one of my favorite vegetable broths (and more of it) and boy it make a BIG difference. I can just lap up this chili soup with a few pieces of yummy buttered bread. But wait, maybe I can attribute the taste bud enhancements to another new ingredient I added to my chili? The new ingredient was Skillet’s Chipotle Pumpkin Sauce (a sister product of Skillet Bacon Spread that I so love). I’m thinking the combination of all ingredients, the broth and the Chipotle Pumpkin sauce made a very tasty chili soup. Or maybe it was the slow and long cooking process of my Crock-Pot? Hmmn, maybe so, but this one is a keeper and I am happy a made a big batch to freeze.

Note: The recipe below serves about 15 – you can half all ingredients. I made a big batch with intentions of freezing a few Ziplocs.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups white onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 750 ml diced can tomatoes in juice
  • 2 x 150 ml cans of tomato paste
  • 2 serrano chiles, finely chopped (seeds and white out)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoon tex mex spice (or chili powder)
  • 2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons skillet chipotle pumpkin sauce
  • dash of pepper (to taste)
  • 1.25 Kg stewing beef, in chunks
  • 5 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup goat yogurt (or sour cream)
  • fresh cilantro

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Add the following ingredients into Crock-Pot: diced tomatoes(with juice), tomato paste, serrano chili, cumin, tex mex, oregano, cayenne, chipotle pumpkin sauce, and pepper.
  2. Turn the Crock-Pot on low to get it heated up.
  3. Heat olive oil in heavy pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic; cook 5 minutes, or until onions are softened. Add to Crock-Pot
  4. Using the same heavy pan brown beef cubes in batches. Add to Crock-Pot
  5. Add vegetable broth to Crock-Pot.
  6. Place lid on Crock-Pot and simmer for at least 7 – 8 hours
  7. Add in strained kidney beans, place lid back on and simmer for 20 minutes.
  8. To serve, ladle hot soup into bowls. Garnish with some goat yogurt (or sour cream) and fresh cilantro. Serve immediately.

What I changed from my original chile recipe:

  • Added 3 cups of low sodium vegetable broth
  • Add Skillet Chipotle Pumpkin Sauce

Soup Mistress Rating for Crock-Pot Mexican Chili Beef Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4/5)
Presentation: (4/5) 
Taste: (4.5/5)