A few things before we begin:
- Full disclosure: I did not make the amazing Pepian, Lucila did. I just ate it and loved it.
- Sorry for the crazy photo, I attribute a few things to the off-coloring.
- The sun sets really early here, so I'm barely home while its still light, and thus, photographing things, especially food is difficult.
- There is something a little off with the screen on my laptop, so I'm not entirely sure that the photos are coming out how I'd like. I saw my blog on another computer the other day and thought, "Oh, what nice bright colors those are." Not good.
Back to the Pepian...
So currently, Pepian de Pollo is my absolute favorite tipico dish. I think it is the roasted pumpkin seeds that make it so delicious. Since I'm not the expert, the recipe today is Lucila's own. The only modification that I prefer is to use chicken breasts vs. chicken pieces as I am not about bones in my food. Also, I would say that your best bet to finding these ingredients is at a Latin grocery store, or Whole Foods. Or for the best option, you could just come visit me and I'll make it for you. Deal? Deal.
2 oz. green pumpkin seeds (pepitoria)
2 oz. sesame seeds
1.5 inch piece of cinnamon, broken into several pieces
4-5 roma tomatoes (whole, unpeeled)
2 oz. tomatillos
1/2 dried guaque chili
1/2 dried pasa chili
2 lbs chicken, cut into pieces
1 1/2 liters water
2 slices of toast (toasted like the ones Nacho shoves under Incarnacion's door. Yes, that "toasted.")
(see rice recipe for additional ingredients)
Place the chicken parts in a large pot with about 1.5 liters of water. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until chicken is done and a golden broth emerges.
Dry roast the sesame seeds until they are slightly brown. Place them on a paper towel to cool. Do the same with the pumpkin seeds.
Place the tomatoes, cinnamon fragments, tomatillos and chilies on a flat, roasting plate (called a comal in Guatemala, or in a jam, a skillet will do) atop a burner and allow everything to roast and blacken slightly. Turn occasionally to allow all ingredients to roast evenly.
Pour the roasted sesame and pumpkin seeds into a blender and blend until finely ground, or about 30 seconds. Add the roasted cinnamon stick fragments and pepper corns and grind for another 30 seconds. Then add the wet ingredients – tomatoes, tomatillos, chilies – and top with the toast and about 1 cup of chicken broth. Blend until everything is smooth; add more chicken broth or more toast until you achieve the desired consistency. The sauce should drip slowly from the spoon.
Heat a pan with a bit of oil. Remove the chicken pieces from the remaining broth and fry for about 5 minutes, until golden. Then add the chicken pieces to a large pot and pour in the recado from the blender. Simmer for about ten minutes; the sauce will darken. Add a couple of pinches of salt to taste. If your sauce is thinner than you’d like, cook a bit longer; if it’s too thick, add some of the remaining broth.
Serve chicken pieces topped with recado. Sprinkle remaining sesame seeds on top for garnish. Serve with rice.
Brown the rice, diced onion, and garlic in a bit of butter or oil. Add water (ratio of 2:1 to rice) and red peppers. Add a couple of pinches of salt. Simmer until water is absorbed.