BDR_5314small

 

Traditional Guatemalan Stew

By Barry Rodriguez

Pepian is the epitome of a “local dish.” Not only is it 100% Guatemalan, its recipe varies from town to town. Proud mothers often quarrel with their daughters-in-law from other communities about how best to prepare it. Here’s a look at what makes pepian so special.

BDR_5148small

Meat

Each pepian recipe calls for chicken, beef, or pork. Very special versions (including the one made by our host Enma Mazariegos), include all three.

BDR_5156small

Spices

Pepian gains much of its flavor through the copious use of spices. For this recipe, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and cinnamon gave the dish a savory taste.

BDR_5184small

Chilies

A variety of chilies are grilled on a hot steel surface before having their seeds removed and being blended into the stew. The smell when the chilies are cooking is so strong it makes everyone in the room choke!

BDR_5209small

Vegetables

The main body of pepian’s sauce comes from fire-roasted tomatoes, onions, and garlic.

BDR_5255small

On the Stove

Pepian is brought to a boil over a stove before the meat is added. Toasted bread is mixed in to thicken the sauce.

BDR_5259small

Rice

White rice is a great accompaniment to pepian, especially when it’s enhanced by garlic and chilies.

BDR_5332small

Tortillas

No Guatemalan dish would be complete without fresh corn tortillas!