Nopalitos en salsa de chile ancho! Yes! Thank goodness my brother Ismael called me on this morning and interrupted my You Tube food videos! Lol! No matter what we start the conversation with, it always ends up being about food and particularly Mom’s recipes. The subject was nopalitos(cactus) on this morning. He mentioned how he loved Mom’s recipe for nopales in a dark sauce. I had an instant flashback of this recipe and I knew that I would be preparing it the next day! When he mentioned that the sauce or salsa was dark, I knew it had to be chile ancho that she used. That was the dried chile that she used most often. This was the best plate of nopales I have had to date and so happy I got that call from my brother that morning.
The pictures above are from a few days after I prepared the recipe. The chile ancho sauce will darken in color when reheated. Even more delicious!
Nopalitos en Salsa de Chile Ancho(Cactus in Salsa)
I will always say that it's the simple dishes that remind us of home that are the most delicious! Because of a recent conversation with my brother, I was reminded of this simple, yet delicious dish of nopalitos that my Mom prepaed during lent.
- 6-8 chile ancho depending on size of chile, stems and seeds removed
- 2 roma tomatoes
- 2 serrano peppers stems removed
- 1/3 white onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3-4 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 pounds nopalitos previously cooked and diced
- Cilantro for garnish
- To a sauce pan, add the chile ancho, tomato, serrano, onion and garlic. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes. Let cool on stove top for 20 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon or tongs, add the chile ancho, serranos, garlic and onion to the blender. Transfer the tomatoes to a plate and remove the skins as best you can. Add them to the blender, along with bouillon, oregano, cumin and 4 cups of water. Blend on high until very smooth. Taste for salt and pepper.
In a large skillet, heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil to medium heat. After a few minutes when oil is hot add the ancho sauce. Reduce heat and continue cooking for 15-20 minutes. Taste for salt. Add the cooked nopalitos and continue cooking for -6 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro before serving.
To cook freshly diced nopales, simply place them in a sauce pan with a little salt, fresh onion, garlic clove and chile serrano. I learned this no water method from my friend and fellow foodblogger Leslie @lacocinadeleslie! Heat the covered saucepan to medium/low heat. The nopales will release their own liquid after a few minutes. Cook, stirring now and then, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
How to clean fresh nopal (cactus) paddles. http://pinaenlacocina.com/2014/05/15/nopalitos-con-rajas-en-salsa-verde-cactus-with-roasted-green-chiles-in-tomatillo-salsa/
As the dried chile ancho get older, the peppers will get darker. This will yield a darker sauce/salsa as well. The picture below is from newly dried chile ancho! Bright red in color when re-hydrated!
Click the link to see the original recipe posted using these freshly dried chile ancho. http://pinaenlacocina.com/2014/03/25/salsa-para-enchiladas-de-chile-ancho-pure-chile-ancho-enchilada-sauce/
This recipe is freezer friendly!!
The picture below shows the nopalitos served over potato cakes with shrimp. These tortitas de papa were part of the traditional recipes that my mom would prepare during lent.
The recipe for the cactus in salsa below can be prepared with any dried chiles. The guajillo and chile California will also yields a bright red sauce like the one pictured below.
If you have never enjoyed tacos de nopalitos en salsa, you must try some the next time you cook up a skillet full. For the tacos below, I simply brush the tortillas with oil(your choice) and plave them on a hot comal(griddle). Once they begin to sizzle, flip over and fill one half with cactus in salsa. Fold over and brush exterior of tortilla with some of the sauce from the nopales. flip and fry quickly. Serve right away. Garnish with fresh avocado, cotija cheese, mexican crema and thin sliced onions. One of the best meatless(not vegan) taco meals I love!!