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Chicharron y Nopal

Toni Turner, executive director of The University of Texas Law School Foundation in Austin, is a cooking historian who specializes in the foods of the Anglo pioneers and Native Americans of the 1850s. Note: The following recipe was designed for fresh cactus. Most canned or other commercially prepared cactus is pickled in brine or vinegar, so adjust your recipe accordingly.Serves 4 to 6.

  • 1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 pound nopalitos
  • 1 4-oz. can chopped green chilies
  • 1 bottle dark beer or 1 c. rich chicken broth
  • 1 pound cubed, boneless pork shoulder
  • 4 T. flour
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. oreganosalt to taste

Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until onions are transparent. Add nopalitos and chilies, adding some of the liquid if needed to prevent sticking.

Coat pork cubes with flour. Turn heat to medium and brown floured pork cubes, adding chili powder and oregano. Add beer or broth and simmer until pork is thoroughly cooked and sauce is creamy.

Serve with Spanish rice, tortillas, sliced avocados, and green salad.

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