**Traditional Pepían** A typical Guatemala dish, Pepían is a thick, hearty stew composed of numerous vegetables, like güicoy (rounded zucchini) and the güísquil (chayote), a protein of chicken, pork, or both, and a sumptuous broth.

Ingredients For the Tomato Sauce

  • 10 small or 5 large tomatillos, peeled and rinsed
  • 4 plum tomatoes
  • 2 small or 1 medium onion, peeled
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 dried chile de pasilla
  • 1 dried chile de guajillo
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup pepitas de calabaza (pumpkin seeds)
  • 5 sprigs cilantro
  • fine sea salt, to taste

For the Soup

  • 1 pound pork spare ribs, separated
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into parts (about 2-3 pounds)
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 4 pieces each
  • 1 green and 1 white güísquil, peeled and quartered
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 4 pieces each
  • 2 large zucchini or 4 güicoy, cut into 4 pieces each
  • Cooked rice, chopped cilantro and tortillas de maiz, for serving


  1. To make the tomato sauce, toast the tomatillos, tomato, onion and garlic in a
    clean sauté pan over medium-high heat, for 8 to 10 minutes, turning every few
    minutes until they are brown on several sides. Once toasted, remove from heat
    and place in a food processor or blender and set aside.

  2. Toast dried chiles in the same pan over medium high heat for 3 to 4 minutes,
    until they are browned and fragrant. Add to tomato mixture. Toast sesame seeds
    in the same skillet over medium heat, taking care not to burn them, about 4 to 5 minutes.
    The seeds are done when they are deeply golden and popping. Add to tomato mixture.

  3. Toast pepitas over medium heat, again in the same skillet until they are deeply
    golden and popping, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add to tomatoes and sesame seeds.
    Add cilantro to the pan and cook quickly, about 2 minutes. Add to tomato mixture.

  4. Add salt to tomato mixture, starting with one teaspoon. Blend until mixture is
    combined and very smooth. You will need to add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water to
    the mixture to thin out the sauce. Taste for salt and add more to your liking
    (for this amount of sauce, I like two teaspoons). Set aside while the soup simmers.

  5. To make the soup, in a large stockpot, add pork ribs and cover with 2 inches of
    water. Bring to a boil, turn heat down, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add chicken
    pieces, carrots and güísquil. Bring back to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover again
    and simmer another 30 minutes.

  6. Add potatoes and güicoy to the stockpot. Remove enough water from the pot
    until remaining liquid covers ingredients inside. You are making room for the
    tomato sauce. Add sauce from the blender to the stockpot, bring to a boil again,
    and allow mixture to simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Broth should be a thick
    stew quality. Turn off heat.

  7. To serve, place cooked rice in bowls, about a 1/2 cup each. Ladle chicken,
    pork, or both into bowls with plenty of vegetables and about 1/2-2/3 cup of broth.
    Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with tortillas de maiz.

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