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Skin on garlic - how do I remove it? I'm making menudo with a whole head.

I'm simmering tripe, a cow's foot and a whole head of garlic, skin on, cut in half horizontally, for menudo. This is going to cook for four or five hours. This is a kinda-sorta Diane Kennedy recipe and she doesn't mention the garlic after telling me to put it in the pot :) I wouldn't think that garlic skin is just going to disintegrate but maybe it will. Will I be picking through the tripe trying to find it? This seems like a stupid question but you know what they say about that. Any thoughts please? Thanks.

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  1. unless there was a lot of loose skin to start with it should stay on and you can just remove the half heads when your done. then you can squeeze the garlic out of the heads, you'll have a soft nicely flavored garlic paste.

    1. If you're going to follow the recipe instructions, the garlic skins will not disintegrate - wrap your garlic head halves in cheese cloth so you can remove them intact when the dish is finished. If I were making the Menuda I would peel the garlic, crush each clove (but not mash it) and introduce it to the mix in that fashion.

      1. If you are talking about a whole head, as opposed just to a clove, of garlic, I think that's physically impossible to do.

        A clove, as you probably know, is simple. Simply smash with the flat side of knife blade.

        But a whole head? The cloves are layered on top of each other -- can't possible peel without destroying the integrity of the whole head.

        1. While I'm not really sure, I am going to give you my .02 anyway.
          I would remove the outer papery peel, then cut in half and then remove any more that seems likely to come off. The tighter peel around each clove will likely stay put during the process. (When I put unpeeled cloves into braises, the peel stays intact, this is my reasoning).
          Is the garlic meant to be eaten when the menudo is done? Or is simply to flavor the broth, and removed prior to eating? Either way, I don't think any peel that falls away will disintegrate. I think you'd be pulling out bits.
          Great day for Menudo making, sounds great!

          1. Too late to wrap in cheesecloth. When I cut it in half, I pulled off the loosest skin so maybe the rest will just "stay" in place. I hadn't really thought about squeezing out the cloves kinda figuring that after that long a cooking time, they'll have given up most of their flavor. So maybe I don't have a question after all. Never made menudo before.

            2 Replies
            1. re: c oliver

              Sounds like you are doing fine.

              1. re: c oliver

                It will have given up most of it's flavor, but also picked up other flavors from the soup, try a little on a nice piece of bread.

              2. I haven't seen her recipe, but have cooked cow's feet (with or without tripe). When it is falling apart, I pull out all the meat pieces (mostly bone, skin, and tendon), and strain the rest. By then any vegetables, garlic, and herbs have given their all. So what I save are 2 containers, one just foot, the other clear highly gelatinous stock. Once chilled that stock will 'ring' when tapped.

                Then in the second stage of making a soup or stew, fresh onions, garlic, and other sofrito ingredients are sauteed, and added to the stock and meat.

                1. So the answer is yes...and no. The "larger half" remained intact and I could just lift it out. The smaller/top of the head had completely fallen apart and the skin/peel of each clove was in the broth. I used my spider and just fished out as many as I could. FWIW, I did taste the intact garlic and it had no taste and really not even any texture. Hey, it cooked about five hours. Even garlic isn't that tough evidently. Thanks for the advice and support. I've added various seasoning (chilis, oregano, cumin, etc.) and it will cook another hour. I also added a couple of Tbs. of tomato paste to give some color to this if not taste.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: c oliver

                    I like to puree/smash the garlic at this state and reintroduce the soup. Adds another layer of flavor and gives the soup a little more texture.

                    I also like to add a little oxtail to my menudo...i love the combination of tripe/foot/tail. Yum!

                    1. re: joonjoon

                      This had no taste or texture, I promise :) And I really like it brothy. Had it for lunch the following day and it was the best menudo I've ever had. I did wind up adding some hominy to when I decided that we were more likely to eat it for lunch or dinner. I have several quarts in the freezer.