1. PLACE the bay leaf, garlic and onion in a piece of cheesecloth tied with kitchen twine, or other device for easy removal.
2. DICE the beef into half-inch pieces and place in a large pot. Add the onion, garlic, herbs and salt and fill the pot the remainder of the way with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 4 hours, or until the meat is fall-apart tender. Then turn off the heat and remove the bay leaf, garlic and onion.
3. BOIL the corn in a separate pot until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.
4. COOK the corn. Cover to keep warm and set aside.
5. MAKE the chile sauce. Soak the chiles in hot water for 20 minutes. Then combine them in a blender with the other ingredients plus enough of the beef broth to keep things spinning with ease. Once blended, strain and add to the pot of beef. Simmer for 20 more minutes, then add the corn.
6. SERVE with the garnishes on the side so people can add what they like. Add some warm tortillas into the mix and you are good to go!
This is maiz, also called choclo in Peru and Peruvian corn in the U.S. Photo courtesy PeruvianDelights.com.
MORE ABOUT MENUDO
In Mexico, there are regional variations, which have been brought to Mexican-American communities in the U.S.
There’s annual Menudo Festival in Santa Maria, California, where you can feast on the different varieties. Here’s more about menudo.
Most historians believe that maize was domesticated in the Tehuacan Valley of Mexico. Numerous varieties were cultivated by the Olmecs and Mayas. Corn had spread throughout Mesoamerica by 2500 B.C.E.
In a region with so many varieties of corn, names evolved. The type of corn grown in the U.S. is called elote (ee-LO-tay). Peruvian-style corn, with giant white kernels, is called maiz (ma-EES).
It is also called choclo in Peru (more than 30 varieties of corn are grown in every color and size imaginable). These jumbo kernels have a different texture than American corn varieties and are less sweet. They were first cultivated in Cusco, the city high in the Andes that was once the capital of the Inca empire.
Choclo has been a staple of the Peruvian diet for thousands of years. It is used to make everything from tamales to soups and pastries.
It can typically be found frozen or dried at Latin markets and online.