Pork ribs, costillas de cerdo. Cactus, mmmm! Nopalitos! Simmerring low and slow in freshly prepared salsa verde! If you are patient and can wait, that meat will practically fall off the bone. If you can’t wait, pull out the pressure cooker and you can be done in one third of the time.
Green Salsa Or Red?
How does one decide to braise the meat in green salsa or red salsa. It really is a matter of choice. Both are delicious! Pork ribs of all kinds are often braised in salsa verde that is prepared with a tomatillo base. Adding the cactus just makes them ten times better, in my opinion. Mom was famous(with us kids) for her costillas de puerco and chile colorado. Both of those dishes prepared with a dried red chile base.
Pork Ribs With Cactus In Salsa Verde
- 3 pounds pork spare ribs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Granulated garlic to taste
- 3 tbsp avocado oil or pork lard
- 1 large white onion peeled (slice half into strips, leave other half as is)
- 6 cloves of garlic leave 3 whole, 3 minced and set aside for later
- 12 large tomatillos peeled and washed
- 3-4 jalapenos stems removed
- 3-4 serranos stems removed
- Handful of fresh cilantro 1/3 cup
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp Mexican oregano
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 cups nopalitos previously cooked
- Slice the ribs into smaller sections. Season lightly with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Let them come up to room temperature.
- In a large pot, add the tomatillos, jalapenos, serranos, 1/2 of the onion and 3 cloves of garlic. Cover with water and bring up to a boil ant medium heat. Cook ingredients just until tomatillos turn from bright green to opaque olive green. Cover the pot and remove from heat.
- In a large heavy pot, add 3 tbsp of oil or lard. Preheat at medium for a few minutes.
- Sear and brown the seasoned pork in the preheated oil, Turn as needed. You may need to sear in batches.
- While pork browns, using tongs, transfer the tomatillos, chile peppers, onion and garlic that were cooked, into the blender. Pour in 4 cups of the cooking water. Add the fresh cilantro, salt and pepper, to taste. Blend on high until smooth. Set aside.
- Once all the pork is browned well, add the remaining onion and garlic to the pork. Also stir in the cumin seeds, oregano and bay leaves. Sautee for a few minutes.
- Pour in the reserved salsa from the blender. Stir well to combine, scraping off the bits from the bottom of the pan.
- When it comes up to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Taste for salt. Cover 3/4 of the way and cook for 35-45 minutes or until pork is very tender.
- Once pork is tender, fold in the previously cooked nopalitos. Stir to combine. Cover and continue cooking for another 15 minutes. Yields 6 servings.