Dominguez family cactus stew

Yield: 6 Servings

Measure Ingredient
\N \N Stephen Ceideburg
1 \N Cactus paddle (about 8 ounces)
\N \N Salt
½ \N Onion
1 \N Garlic clove
\N \N Several sprigs cilantro
\N \N Dry husks from 4 tomatillos (optional)
2 pounds Finely diced pork
3 \N Garlic cloves, minced
1 can Enchilada sauce (Las Palmas preferred) *
2 teaspoons Oregano
1 teaspoon To 2 ts toasted cumin seed, crushed or ground
2 tablespoons Masa harina
¼ cup Water
¼ cup Minced cilantro
1 \N Toasted japones chile, ground (optional)

* 1-pound, 12-ounces size

To clean the cactus paddle, hold it gingerly between the nodes of the prickly spines. Use a sharp paring knife to slice off the nodes. Keep a damp paper towel nearby to wipe your knife on, making sure the spines stay on the towel. Trim around the edge of the paddle where the spines are closer together. It is not necessary to peel the cactus, only to remove the nodes and spines on both sides. Trim off the blunt end where the paddle was cut from the plant. Cut the paddle into ¼-inch strips about 2 inches long.

Bring 4 quarts water with 1 tablespoon salt, the onion, garlic, cilantro and tomatillo husks to a boil; drop in the cactus strips.

(Tomatillo husks help retain the bright green color of the cactus.) Blanch the cactus until just crisp tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Drain strips in a colander and rinse with cool water.

Place the meat in a pot with 3 cups of water. Simmer, covered, until the water is just about gone

Tilt the pot and drain off the fat.

To the drained meat, add garlic, the red chile sauce and spices.

Simmer about 30 minutes. Taste for salt, then stir in the drained nopalitos. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Blend the masa harina and the water to make a paste; whisk it into the stew for a thickener. Simmer 5 minutes longer, then stir in the cilantro. If you like a spicy stew, add the japones chile. Serve in bowls accompanied by warm tortillas.

PER SERVING: 430 calories, 34 g protein, 14 g carbohydrate, 27 g fat (12 g saturated), 91 mg cholesterol, 411 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.

From an article by Jacquiline Higuera McMahan in the San Francisco Chronicle

Posted by Stephen Ceideburg

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