Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sopa de Nopales y Hongos

So the other day as I strolled through one of my favorite produce stores I spotted some nopales and thought I haven't had a good cactus soup in a very long time. You know the cactus plants we see growing all over Southern California, the fruit when ripe are not only excellent to eat and make margaritas from, but the actual large cactus paddles, or nopales in Spanish are very edible as well. So I quickly grab a couple of them and some Shitake mushrooms and went home to conjure up this recipe for your approval.

I had some left over chicken stock that I had made, you can use a good store bought brand of stock if you wish.

6 Small to Medium Tomatillos husks removed and rinsed
5-6 Medium Roma tomatoes
4 Large Garlic cloves, peeled
1 Large Jalapeno
1 Medium White Onion, Sliced in half
1 Bunch, Cilantro
1 tsp fresh roasted anise seed, roasted and then ground
4 cups chicken stock
3 tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 lb Shiitake mushrooms, remove stems and slice caps
2 large Nopales ( cactus paddles)
1 Dried chile of your choice. Optional

Place the Tomatillos, Tomatoes, Jalapeno and Garlic on a foil lined baking dish. Pour some of the Olive Oil on top and slightly sprinkle with Salt and Pepper. Put under a very hot broiler to roast. Turning after about 5-6 minutes to make sure they are roasted evenly. Make sure you remove the stem and seeds from the Jalapeno after roasting. When finished roasting place in a blender with the pan drippings and a cup of the chicken stock. Add a medium handful of the Cilantro along with the Anise and Puree.
Puree to a nice but still semi chunky consistency. taste but don't adjust seasoning at this time. This will be your soups base. We can readjust the seasoning later if desired.

At this time you want to trim the Nopale by first cutting 1/4inch all the way around the cactus. Then placing it and the onion on the same pan that you roasted the first batch of veggies on. Make sure you lightly coat with Olive Oil and then pop it into the broiler and roast until slightly brown, turning once to make sure both sides are done.
Add the Mixture from the blender into at least a 4 quart stock pot that has the remainder Olive Oil heated in it. You want to actually start to fry this base quickly in a very small amount of oil for at least 5 minutes.
Then add the Chicken Stock. set heat to low and let slowly simmer without boiling.

When the Nopales and onions are finished roasting. remove them from the pan and place on a cutting board. remember to add the pan juices to the simmering soup. Roughly chop the onion and slice the Nopale in half lengthwise and then julienne crosswise.

Add the Nopales and the onion to the soup. Chop the dried Chili and add as well. Simmer slowly for another 5 minutes or so to let all the flavors mingle together. At this time you can adjust the seasoning by adding a little more salt or pepper.
Pour it into a bowl and top with a little chopped fresh Cilantro. I also like to add some fresh grated Aged Mexican cheese. I like to use the Buena Comida Brand of the Cotija Anejo. Or aged cheese. Slightly salty and tastes very similar to a Pecorino Romano cheese. Aged for at least 60 days and can be found anywhere nowadays.

So here we have for your approval our version of a Mexican classic. Sopa de Nopales y Hongos. We hope you enjoy it on a cold winters night in front of the fireplace. It will keep you nice and warm.


1 comment:

mokshaku said...

Thanks for the recipe, YYYYYUUUUMM!!! I wanted to share this, why don't you try these with this drink called purple, I tried it and it's yummm!.
You must have heard about it since it's doing a lot of rounds in the celebrity circuit and is all over the news. Its tastes amazing with everything, try it and let me know if you liked it or not. It is a health drink which is made up of 7 fruits juice and is high on antioxidants and you know about antioxidants right? it prevents premature ageing, what else do growing women want huh, LOL!! If you want more information to check whether what I am saying is right you can get it at . You can get it at GNC and drug stores. Could not help sharing it.

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