I’ve often noticed cactus paddles — known as nopales — at the grocery store, but never considered using them until I tasted some strewn across a stewed beef dish at a recent event. The thought intrigued me! I knew there was prickly pear cactus jelly, having encountered it on our Southwestern travels, but never realized nopale is an edible vegetable.
As it turns out, nopales have a clean, grass-clipping aroma that’s a bit pungent, sort of like grass that’s gotten wet while it sat in the trash bag before it was picked up, but still retains that sun-warmed cleanness.
Don’t worry about the prickles. Nopales are easy to clean. Simply take a small, sharp knife and scrape off the prickers. Use the knife tip to cut out any remaining spines, running your hand (carefully) over the paddle before proceeding to make sure the surface is smooth.
Pork Green Chile Posole Stew With Nopales Recipe
3 T olive oil
2 lbs pork roast, cut into 1 inch pieces
salt and pepper
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, papery skins removed, minced
1 cup roasted Hatch green chiles, skin removed, diced
3 cactus paddles, spines removed, edges trimmed and discarded, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 – 14.5 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
8 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 – 25 oz cans hominy, drained
2 T chile powder (chipotle or ancho is fine)
juice of 3 limes
Warm oil in large, heavy pot. Salt and pepper pork and brown until parts of the meat have darkened spots. Remove pork to a clean bowl.
Add onions to pot and sauté in pork juices until softened but aren’t browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Return pork and accumulated juices to pot, add chiles, cactus, tomatoes, hominy and broth. Stir to combine. Add cold water to pot to cover all ingredients. Add chile powder and stir again. Bring to boil, cover, and reduce heat to simmer. Cook stew for two hours or until pork is tender, stirring occasionally. Before serving stir in lime juice.
Serve in low shallow bowls with corn tortillas warmed on the grill.
To all the no-nonsense, pleasure drinkers out there, this recommendation is for you, according to Stephanie Davis. She takes drinking quite seriously, as you can see on her Wine Two Five podcast.
She mixed up a super simple cocktail and named it, Truth Be Told. Check out the list of ingredients and you’ll begin to understand why, but my guess is one sip will provide the answer.
There’s an exotic element to the cocktail called Falernum. Traditionally used in tiki drinks like the Zombie, Mai Tai and Rum Swizzle, it is a liqueur infused with almond, ginger, clove, lime and other flavors, depending on the distillery. It’s packed with interest and after you taste the Falernum, you might decide it doesn’t need the tequila!
Truth Be Told
2 oz Reposado Tequila – Fortaleza
1 oz Falernum – The Bitter Truth
Squeeze of lime
Serve over ice in a rocks glass with lime garnish
Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, illuminating the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished, https://www.facebook.com/EmilyKemme, or on Twitter @EmFeedsYou . Life inspired. Vodka tempered.
Interested in reading Emily’s new award-winning novel, Drinking the Knock Water: A New Age Pilgrimage? Find it on Amazon and in Indie bookstores.
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