Friday, April 27, 2012


A-Z Soups
Xero means “dry” as in Xerox Corp. who invented dry copying.  In the 1950’s, prior to Xerox, copy machines used a liquid and special paper. Phile means fondness for or liking.  So this soup involves a vegetable that “likes” a dry climate. This could have been titled Cactus soup or Sopa Nopalitos but …   …that doesn’t start with an “X”.  Okay, fine.

Everyone thinks of cactus as a prickly, off- putting vegetable; however cactus, known as Nopalitos in old Mexico, is relatively mild with a slight tart quality. You can find nopalitos, sliced and recipe-ready, in cans or jars and fresh tomatillos at Mexican groceries or ethnic sections of large markets.

Xerophilic Soup or Cactus soup                    Serves 8


1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 pound tomatillos, husks removed and chopped
6 cups chicken broth or stock

1 large jar (2 pounds) sliced cactus
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons coriander leaves (cilantro)

2 ounces feta cheese

Lime wedges


Put oil in a 5 quart Dutch oven and add onion
Cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally

Add the tomatillos; cook about 5 minutes, just to soften
Add the broth and bring to boiling over high heat

Stir in cactus, lime juice and coriander and cook until hot

Sere with cheese and lime wedges.

Xerophilic soup, sopa nopalitos or cactus soup. By any name it is a delicious soup.


Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

That sounds awesome and your whole blog has set my mouth to drooling. *wiping spittle off my keyboard* I do wish we could find cactus up here in northern Ontario but some days we're lucky to have lettuce. Send me a cactus, will ya? :)

Patricia said...

Just dropped in am boy, am I glad that I did. I have learned a lot. (didn't know xerox meant "dry") I would LOVE to try that soup, but will have a bit of a problem with the "can of cactus".... fear not I will give it my best effort. Now I just HAVE to follow your site.!!
Patricia, Sugar & Spice & All Things ? Nice

Joyce said...

I've never had cactus soup...sounds interesting.

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

Cactus soup!! How flippin' fun is that! I will try it.
What original recipes, Anthony. You rock. :)

Lynn Proctor said...

it does sound and look good--great x word!!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Atlanta has all kinds of international markets where you can buy things like cactus leaves, and all kinds of other things I don't even recognize. But I had no idea what people would actually DO with cactus leaves. Until now. And I am totally impressed you found an honest-to-goodness X word that fits in with your theme.

Anonymous said...

That soup sounds interesting. Great post for the letter X.

Jean said...

I cannot believe you pulled off the letter X so suavely and with such finesse for the name of your fabulous soup! You deserve an award!!!

anthony stemke said...

CATHY OLLIFFE WEBSTER: Apparently there aren't many Mexicans up there by you. We have a lot of Mexican groceries and cactus is available widely.
When you said northern Ontario - it reminded of a Neil Young song from long ago.
Thanks for calling.

PATRICIA: Thanks for visiting, I hope you can try this soup.

JOYCE: It is not your everyday
soup, but does fit the "X" parameter, albeit just barely.

DAWN@lIGHTEN UP: Thank you Dawn, I appreciate your kind words.


SUSAN FLETT SWIDERSKI: Atlanta does have a lot of ethnic stores, I wish it were closer, I would shop there. We have a lot of chicken processing plants in my area and a lot of Mexicans, hence Mexican groceries.

The Golden Eagle said...

My mom and I were noticing cactus leaves in the grocery store a few days ago and wondering what one could make with them. Question answered!

The Eagle's Aerial Perspective

Al Penwasser said...

I did not know that about Xerox.
The soup looks great, too.

Joanne said...

I love cactus but wouldn't ahve thought to put it in soup! Have to try this!

anthony stemke said...

THE GOLDEN EAGLE: The first time I had jarred cactus leaves in my pantry they were a really a foreign thing. But then I used them in a soup like this and it was fine. For some reason didn't replace them and forgot about them until now.

AL PENWASSER: Cactus soup is a bit unusual but makes a fine soup. We have cactus growing in a front yard and I started watering it and it is growing new leaves or pods or whatever, maybe can use them for food.

JOANNE: You will be pleasently surprised I think.

Jean said...

Hi Anthony! Thank you for visiting today! The kid in the photo is Stu Sutcliffe-- my husband Jim corrected me--He was John's best friend and grew up with him.
We love the Beatles too and my husband thinks there is NOBODY like them--and he has seen everyone in concert except them. However he has seen Paul McCartney around 4 times!
Best regards to YOU!


anthony stemke said...

JEAN: OK, I remember his name, he died before the Beatles came to the USA. Lennon convinced him to play bass guitar in Hamburg but he was not very talented. There were 5beatles with him. He bought his instrument with the proceeds of one of his art sales. He dropped out to pursue art.
We thoroughly enjoyed that film "Across the Universe" and I never get tired of hearing the Beatles songs.
Speaking of McCartney, a shame he had to go to auction in 1985 to try to buy back songs he had written and lost ownership of. There were about 40,000 songs on the block, including 251 Beatles songs. After a tense session with prices rising astronomically, McCartney lost the 50 million dollar bidding war. Do you know who won that day? Michael Jackson.
McCartney had to make do with two other songs he'd acquired - "Autumn Leaves" and "Sentimental Journey".
A tragedy for McCartney, a brilliant songwriter but a poor businessman.
Thanks for calling Jean.

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