Recipe courtesy of Freddie J Bitsoie

Nopales-Stuffed Chicken

  • Level: Easy
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Total: 1 hr
  • Active: 35 min



2 tablespoons olive oil

1 nopal (prickly pear cactus pad), dethorned and thinly sliced (see Cook’s Note)

1/4 cup finely diced onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon kosher salt


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied and pounded

1 large egg, beaten

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese


1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Olive oil, as needed

1 lime, zested and juiced

2 ounces tequila

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. For the stuffing: In a medium saute pan over medium heat, add the olive oil, cactus, onions, garlic and salt and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables sweat, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the onions are fully cooked, 5 to 7 minutes longer; set aside.
  3. For the chicken: Place about 2 tablespoons of the cactus stuffing on one side of each chicken breast. If you have remaining stuffing, reserve it for garnish. Top with the cheese. Using a brush, coat the edges of the chicken breasts with the egg and fold over the chicken to close.
  4. Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat and add the canola oil. Season the chicken breasts with the salt and pepper. Carefully place each stuffed breast in the hot pan. Cook each side until seared and a nice crust forms, about 3 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a sheet pan and bake until the internal temperature is 165 degrees F, about 25 minutes.  
  5. For the sauce: Reduce the heat to low under the saute pan that was used for the chicken. Add the cumin, coriander and paprika and cook, stirring, until toasted, for a minute or two, taking care not to burn the spices—add a little oil to the pan if it looks dry. Add the lime zest and juice and cook, stirring, until the juice has reduced. Very carefully add the tequila; it may ignite, but not for too long. Stir in the chicken stock, salt and pepper; lower the heat and cook until reduced, about 10 minutes.  
  6. Place the chicken in a serving dish, cover with the sauce and garnish with any reserved cactus stuffing and chopped fresh parsley.  

Let's Get Cooking!

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Lydia Chittenden


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