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Beef with Cactus Pieces

Nopalitos chunks of an edible cactus are used as a vegetable in Mexico, and are the basis of several salads, soups and bakes.

ingredients

serves 6
900 g (2 lb) braising beef, cut into 5 cm (2 in) cubes
30 ml (2 tbsp) corn oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 or 2 jalapeno chillies, seeded and chopped
115 g (4 oz) can nopalitos (cactus pieces), rinsed and drained
2 x 275 g (10 oz) tomatillos (Mexican green tomatoes)
50 g (2 oz) 1/2 cup fresh chopped coriander
beef stock (optional)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
chopped fresh coriander, to garnish

method

1. Pat the beef cubes dry with kitchen paper. Heat the oil in a frying pan and saute the beef cubes a few at a time, until browned all over. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef cubes to a flameproof casserole or pan.

3. Add the onion and garlic to the oil remaining in the frying pan and saute until the onion is tender. Add more oil if necesssary. Add the onions and garlic to the casserole or pan together with the chillies.

3. Add the nopalitos and tomatillos, with the can juices, to the casserole. Stir in the coriander until well mixed. If more liquid is needed to cover the beef, stir in as much stock as needed. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Bring to a slow simmer, cover and cook over a low heat for about 2 1/2 hours or until the beef is very tender. Serve sprinkled with the chopped coriander.

Cook's Tip -
Tomatillos (Mexican green tomatoes) are not to be confused with ordinary green unripe tomatoes. Look for them, canned, in speciality markets and food shops.

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