cactus gumbo

Friday, October 21, 2011

The night D and I found out we were moving to Guadalajara we knew that ritas and tacos were the only suitable way to celebrate - so we found ourselves at Oyamel in Penn Quarter.  

Chopped Nopal
One of the Mexican tapas we ordered was nopal (cactus).  I don't think I had actually ever eaten cactus before - sounds kind of pokey, right?  Anyways, while eating our cactus we entertained ourselves by making fun of its sliminess - it reminded us of okra.

So the train of thought at that point went something like this....  I like okra, D likes okra, we both like okra gumbo, we now like cactus, cactus is cheaper than okra in Mexico, so we should make cactus gumbo.

And that was my experiment last night, a very yummy experient I might add!

It was too good not to share, so for anyone that finds themselves with some extra nopal on hand enjoy! 

Nopal (Cactus) Gumbo
If Louisiana was in Mexico! 

1/2 cup butter, lard, oil (your fat of choice)
1 cup flour
4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 large onion, diced
2 bell peppers, diced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 jalapenos, diced (I like the seeds left in for some heat!)
1 - 2 cups chopped nopal (prickly pear cactus)
8-10 tomatoes (peeled and chopped)
6 cups chicken stock
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce 
1 tbs paprika
1+ tsp cayanne
2-3 dried chillies  - just chopped in half
2-3 cups of your meat of choice (shreaded chicken, shrimp, andouille sausage, oysters, etc...)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Roux after about 50 minutes

After the nopal is added things get sticky!
Make your roux! Mix your fat of choice and flour in the stock pot - heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is camel to chocolate color (however long you feel like standing there!) around 40 - 100ish minutes. If the roux burns, toss it, and give it one more college try! 

Once your roux is beautiful add the celery, onion, bell peppers, garlic and jalapenos.  Stir occassionaly until your onions are translucent.

 Add the cactus - continue to stir occasionally for about 5 minutes.

Add the rest of the ingredients.  If you are using shrimp hold this off until later since it will cook super fast.  Simmer for at least an hour.

Serve over rice, with Tabasco sauce and a cold cerveza! Enjoy!

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  1. thank you for stopping by my blog - yours is a lot of fun, as well! good luck in guadalajara... and btw, your recipes look delicious!!

    greetings from

  2. Oh yum! I'll be honest, I saw when you posted this on fb & I was thought "hmm, I can't imagine what mexican dish she decided to nickname gumbo" but now I get it & it sounds good! I do like nopal...

  3. I totally had nopal about two weeks ago but no one explained to me what it was! Now I understand. I can't wait to try some nopal gumbo now!

    This policy of eating what I'm given has already caused me to eat cow head tacos. I'm seriously going to have to learn more Spanish.