Pepian - A Delicious Guatemalan Recipe!

One of my favorite dishes is the signature Guatemalan dish, Pepian. It is a husky blend of chilis and seeds with tomatoes and tomatillos that are cooked into a thick sauce that is typically served with chicken.

Every restaurant and cook will have a slightly different recipe which was handed down to them  but the best pepian I have ever eaten was made by a good friend, Patricia, who invited me to her home in Guatemala.  I had tried pepian in restaurants and wasn't fond of it -- that is until I tasted Patricia's recipe. Follows is Patricia's recipe that was handed down in her family.











5# chicken or beef
3# fresh tomatoes
1 large sweet red pepper
2 chili guaques (dried pepper that is a little spicy like guajillo chilis)
2 chili pasas (I used dried ancho chilis)
4 ounces pumpkin seeds (not toasted)
4 ounces sesame seeds
3 cloves of garlic
1 median onion
1 small stick of cinnamon
4 ounces of tomatillos
1 bunch of cilantro

Other ingredients: potatoes, carrots, guisquil (similar to winter squash or potato), green beans, guicoy (another vegetable that is similar to a summer squash or potato.

Wash and clean all the ingredients.  Take seeds and veins out of chilis and remove the paper shell from the tomatillos.

Peel the guisquil, potatoes, carrots, and guicoy.

Roast the tomatoes, tomatillos, chilis, onions and garlic on a comal or in a fry pan until charred then remove from heat.  Toast the pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and cinnamon stick (which has been broken into tiny pieces) in a pan for a couple of minutes. Be careful to not burn the seeds.

Cut the chicken into pieces then put in a pan with 2 cups of water. Add salt and a little chicken bouillon granules to taste. Add the squash, carrots, potatoes and cook until veggies are tender and the chicken is done.

Put the roasted chili peppers, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and cinnamon in a blender and blend until a smooth paste; add a little water to help blend it. Then add the garlic, onions, tomatoes, tomatillos, and cilantro and continue blending until you have a thick smooth sauce.

Drain the water from the chicken and veggies then add the blended sauce to the chicken and veggies.  Cook til done, adding back some of the water if needed to keep it from sticking; you still want a thick sauce so don't add too much. 

Serve with cooked rice and tortillas. Enjoy!




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