Prep 15 mins
Cook 20 mins
A unique recipe from Inelva Carrasco Espinosa of Oaxaca, Mexico also known as stewed cactus paddles. Epazote - pronounced (eh-paw-ZOH-teh) An herb well-known to Mexican and Caribbean cooking. It is also known as pigweed or Mexican tea and is frequently regarded as a garden pest. It is most commonly used in black bean recipes to ward off some of the gassy side affects of eating beans. Much like cilantro, it is referred to as an acquired taste. The herb is quite pungent and some say it smells like fuel. Epazote is a commonly found plant native to Mexico and the tropical regions of Central and South America and is widely naturalized throughout the world. In Brazil it goes by the name erva-de-santa-maria or mastruco; in Peru it's called paico, and it is known throughout Mexico and Latin America as epazote.
- 1 lb nopales (cactus paddles)
- 1 lb plum tomato
- 1⁄4 medium onion
- 1⁄2 cup water, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 sprig epazote
- 2 teaspoons chicken base
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, to taste
- Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil.
- Trim off spines and damaged bits, clean and wash the cactus.
- Cut each paddle into half-inch squares.
- Drop the cactus pieces into the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes; drain.
- Trim stem ends of the tomatoes and cut the tomatoes into quarters.
- Place them in a blender container with the onion and one-fourth cup water.
- Whirl until thoroughly blended.
- Heat the olive oil in a saucepan.
- Add the tomato mixture, epazote, chicken base and salt.
- Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered about 10 minutes.
- Add the cactus squares and the remaining one-fourth cup water.
- Bring to a boil and simmer gently, uncovered, 5 minutes.
- If the sauce becomes too thick, thin with a little water.