Monday, January 5, 2015

Nopales Gumbo

Living in Southern California for the past 6 years has made me a huge wimp when it comes to the cold.  I remember when cold fronts were a welcomed change from triple digit summers.  Now, I shiver when it's 60 degrees out.  THE SHAME.

As much as I insist that this weather is cuckoo banana pants, I relish it.  The doggy snuggles, the boyfriend heater, and soup. all. day. son.  I first made this gumbo when I was trying to find a good use for leftover nopales.  The end result was fantastic!  My roommate and I made our way through the giant pot o' gumbo in a couple of days.  It's super easy and will definitely warm up those chilling nights.

Nopales Gumbo
(serves 8)

This cactus gumbo meshes two cuisines for the best of both worlds. Find fresh nopales for cheap in the produce section of your local Latin grocer. If you can’t find nopales, I suppose you could go ahead and use okra.

Notes: I use Tofurky andouille sausages because why not. Also, feel free to go halfsies on the bell pepper. I did half red and half green. If you’re feeling super frisky, mix it up with poblano!

3 Tbsp oil
4 large vegan andouille sausages, homemade or storebought, sliced
¼ cup margarine
½ cup all purpose flour
Medium onion, finely diced
Bell pepper, finely diced
3 stalks celery, finely diced
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1 tsp cumin
2 Tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce
2 ½ cups fresh nopales
1 ½ cups corn, fresh or fresh frozen
6 cups broth
1 tsp salt, more or less to taste
Pepper to taste
Fresh cilantro or parsley

Cooked white rice
Green onions for garnish

Add the oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Stir in the sliced sausages and fry until crisp. Remove sausage from pot and set aside, but do NOT drain the oil. Add margarine and lower the heat to low. Whisk in the flour to make a caramel roux. It should take about 15 minutes to get a golden brown color and toasty aroma.

Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, Mexican oregano, and cumin. Cook until the tomatoes break down and the mixture starts to resemble a thick gravy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the worcestershire sauce, nopales, corn, broth, salt, and pepper. Raise the heat and bring everything to a boil.

Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the soup is perfectly thickened and has a nice sheen to it. Stir in the fresh cilantro or parsley. Serve over rice and garnish with green onions.