Monday, July 27, 2015

Prickly Pear Cactus Noodles con Guisado de Longaniza y Vegetales

     Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit Flavored Noodles with Stewed Longaniza Sausage and Vegetables!
     Today's western style pasta creation has comfortable flavors.  The stewed ingredients are mildy spicy and healthy.  The selection of vegetables was limited to only Mesoamerican varieties.  The list includes toasted calabaza seed, jalapeño, chile negro, tomato, blue speckled maize, bell pepper, onion and pinto beans.  Cilantro and epazote also flavor the stew.
     Longaniza Sausage is similar to Spanish Chorizo, but there is far less paprika in the sausage mixture.  Local butcher shops in Mexican food markets in Las Vegas usually stock fresh Longaniza.  Longaniza has a rich pork flavor that is mildly spicy.  This sausage is in a natural casing and it can be cooked whole.  
     Prickly Pear Cactus fruit is called "Tuna" in Mexico.  Prickly Pear Cactus fruit has a light strawberry flavor.  Modern Asian noodle makers offer many new noodle flavors and cactus flavored noodles are a popular item.  Asian style Cut Noodles are made by rolling out sheets of noodle dough, stacking the sheets, then cutting the stacked layers of dough into thin strips.
     I purchased a bundle of artisan crafted cactus flavored fresh Cut Noodles at the Greenland Supermarket in Korea Town, Las Vegas.  The first thought that came to mind was to create a few western fusion noodle recipes.  Taken for granted, fresh Cactus Cut Noodles are not available in every food market, but these noodle are fairly easy to make from scratch.  Either powdered prickly pear fruit or the juice can be used to make the noodle dough.
     Dried Chile Negro is not always easy to find.  Chile Negro is native to Oaxaca Mexico.  When dried, they look like a dark black stubby dried pepper with a smooth skin.  The flavor of chile negro is like a combination of deep intense fruit flavors, dried plum, licorice and tobacco.  Chile Negro is used to make the famous Oaxaca Black Mole Paste.
     The corn in today's recipe is an heirloom breed.  I chose Blue Speckled Yellow Maize.  Blue Speckled Maize has a rich flavor that is not sweet.  Heirloom corn varieties are Non-GMO.  Purchasing heirloom corn varieties helps to preserve biodiversity and native culinary tradition.

     Prickly Pear Noodles con Guisado de Longaniza y Vegetales:
     This recipe yields 1 noodle entrée.
     This stew does not take all day to cook!  The stew only simmers till the vegetables are tender and till a thin broth sauce is formed.
     Step 1:  Place a 5 ounce piece of raw longaniza sausage on a small roasting pan.
     Roast the sausage in a 300ºF oven till it is fully cooked, with minimal browning.
     Let the sausage cool to room temperature.
     Cut the longaniza sausage into bite size slices and set them aside.
     Step 2:  Place a pot of water on a back burner set to high heat, so the fresh cactus noodles can be cooked later in the recipe.
     Step 3:  Heat a wide sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of blended olive oil.
     Add 2 tablespoons of small chopped onion.
     Add 2 tablespoons of small chopped green bell pepper.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of small chopped seeded jalapeño pepper.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Add the reserved cooked longaniza sausage slices.
     Sauté till the vegetables start to become tender.
     Step 4:  Add 1 plum tomato that is cut into thin wedges.
     Add 1/4 cup of fresh blue speckled maize kernels.
     Add 2 tablespoons of toasted pepitas.  (toasted calabaza seeds)
     Add 1 crushed seeded chile negro.
     Add 1/4 cup of rinsed pre-cooked pinto beans or rinsed canned pinto beans.
     Add 3 tablespoons of tomato puree.
     Add 2 cups of light chicken broth.
     Step 5:  Add 1/4 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of cumin.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of coriander.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced epazote.
     Add 10 to 12 whole cilantro leaves.
     Step 6:  Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
     Simmer and reduce, till the vegetables are tender and the excess liquid evaporates.  There should be about 1 cup of stewing broth in the pan.
     Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Step 7:  Place 1 portion of Asian Style Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit Flavored Fresh Cut Noodles in the pot of boiling water.
     Boil the noodles, till they are fully cooked.
     Drain the water off of the noodles.
     Step 8:  Add the noodles to the Longaniza Sausage and Vegetable Stew.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Place the the noodles and sauce on a plate or in a shallow stew bowl.
     *Use a carving fork to spin the noodles to form a tall peak of noodles on the center of the plate.
     Garnish with a split lime slice.
     Garnish the lime slice with cilantro leaves.

     The aroma and flavor of this western style noodle entrée spells comfort in any language!  

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