Beef Stew With Cactus - Carne Guisada Con Nopalitos

Total Time
Prep 15 mins
Cook 35 mins

A savory border recipe as published in our local paper today.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Trim off the glochids and spines from two paddles of prickly pear cactus.
  2. Cut into 1/2 inch dice and cook in boiling salted water until the color changes to olive green.
  3. Drain and set to the side.
  4. Fill a small saucepan with water and bring to the boil; add the chiles and cook for about ten minutes or until fork tender.
  5. Drain well and remove the stems.
  6. Whirl in a blender and filter through cheesecloth or a mesh strainer to remove seeds; set to the side.
  7. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat.
  8. Add oil and sautee the onion until transparent.
  9. Add the meat and brown well, taking care not to scorch the onions.
  10. Add the salt, pepper, chile puree, garlic, tomato and about one cup of water.
  11. Cover and simmer lightly for about 30 minutes, or until tender (check towards the end of the cooking time to see if you need more liquid). If meat isn't tender, you may need to cook for another 15 minutes or so.
  12. Add the cooked nopalitos and stir well.
  13. Serve while hot.
Most Helpful

This eventually came out just great and the family loved the taste. I had a lot of trouble with the dried ancho chiles. Rather than straining the seeds, it's much, much easier to remove them either with your knife when you're preparing them or, even easier, by running water over them after the stems have been removed. Also, the recipe doesn't say anything about adding water to puree the chopped peppers. I found I needed to add a little water for a puree consistency. It was my first time using dried peppers, so this was a good learning experience. I think I'd rate this a 5-star recipe if I hadn't had so much trouble. So, my bad. Thanks, Molly, it was great.

Mike C. August 10, 2008