|Pineapple for dessert!|
The Central American country of Guatemala's history dates back to at least 12,000 BC. Many people probably know of the Mayan ruins and culture that so captivate our imaginations. It's neighbors include Mexico, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador. Guatemala is also rich in natural resources and boasts a magnificent ecosystem.
Guatemala's cuisine is influenced by Mayan and Spanish cultures and relies heavily on corn, beans, rice and tortillas as staples. Chicken, cilantro, garlic and green onions are also used to season many dishes - how can you go wrong??
The secret to thickening the sauce for this dish is in the corn tortillas which are pureed right along with the vegetables. Not only do they bind the sauce, but they add a distinctive corn flavor that melds beautifully with the tangy citrus of the tomatillos and the heat of the jalapeños.
|Husk tomatillos and simmer till tender with jalapeños, chicken and water|
The citrus herb flavor of the tomatillos is superb!
|Pepitas - pumpkin seeds|
|Toasted sesame seeds|
|Puree everything except chicken - then add shredded chicken and heat|
|Serve seasoned with cilantro and corn tortillas|
Pollo Pepian - Spicy Chicken with Tomatillo, pumpkin and Sesame Sauce
Adapted from a Whole Foods Recipe: www.wholefoodsmarket.com
Put 6 cups water, tomatillos, chicken, jalapeños and salt into large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until tomatillos and jalapeños are tender and chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Drain, reserving broth, and set aside chicken, tomatillos and jalapeños.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cilantro, green onions, garlic and bell peppers and cook until softened and gold brown, about 10 minutes; transfer to a blender. Add pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, tortillas, 3 cups of the reserved broth, tomatillos and jalapeños (seeded first if you like) and carefully puree until smooth; work in batches, if needed. (Reserve broth for another use).
Transfer contents of blender to a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes more. Ladle into bowls, garnish with cilantro and serve.
Final Assessment: Delicious, interesting, simple and unique. Highly recommended!!