Pepián de Pollo is a Guatemalan dish that I have always been fond of, in fact, it might be my favorite Guatemalan dish to date. Cooking Pepián is similar to making a Mexican Mole, except, instead of a cocoa base, the sauce is built up around pepitas or pumpkin seeds. Pepián blends together a combination of bold flavors into a complex sauce which is the basis for the dish. Its stew like consistency is perfect for the cooler weather, and its use of pumpkin seeds lends to its seasonal charm.
Pepián de Pollo
In a large stock pot boil and then simmer until cooked:
- 2-3 lbs of Chicken
- 2 liters of Water
- 2 diced Carrots
- 1 peeled and diced Guisquil (these can be hard to come by in the United States and often times I just have to omit the quisquil from the recipe)
- 1⁄2 cup cut Green Beans
- 1⁄2 lb cubed Potatoes
- Salt and Pepper
Once the cooked chicken and vegetables have cooled a little, set a colander on top of a large bowl and pour the ingredients out preserving the chicken broth while removing the other ingredients from the liquid.
Prepare the ingredients for the Pepián sauce:
Grill, broil, or char:
- 1⁄2 lb Tomatoes
- 4 oz Tomatillo (Miltomate)
- 2 cloves of Garlic
Toast in a cast-iron pan until browned:
- 1⁄2 oz Sesame Seeds
- 1⁄2 oz Pumpkin Seeds
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 1 tbsp Flour
- 2 small Guaque (Guajillo) Chiles
- 1 large Pasa (Pasilla) Chile
- 1 large sliced Onion
Toast separately until almost burnt:
- 2 – 3 Corn Tortillas
Soak the tortillas in water to soften and then wring them out. These will eventually be used to thicken the sauce.
Grind the toasted seeds and spices in a blender until finely ground. Add the charred tomatoes, tomatillos, and garlic to the blender and blend. Add the tortillas to the blender and continue to blend.
In a large pot on the stovetop heat 2 tbsp of oil. Add the blended mixture to the oil and sauté. Add 2 cups of the remaining chicken broth to the pot, and continue to stir the sauce until the it starts to thicken.
Add the precooked chicken and vegetables to the sauce, and let chicken and vegetables reheat as the sauce cooks down and thickens.
Serve with corn tortillas and rice.