Pepián Recipe

Pepián is a cherished Guatemalan dish that boasts a rich, savory sauce made from a blend of roasted spices, tomatoes, and aromatic ingredients. Hailing from the vibrant landscapes of Guatemala, Pepián encapsulates the essence of Guatemalan culinary tradition and the art of using locally sourced ingredients. Join us as we guide you through crafting this flavorful masterpiece, inviting you to savor the authentic taste of Guatemala’s cherished culinary heritage.


For the Pepián Sauce:
  • 2 tomatoes, roasted and peeled
  • 4 dried guajillo chilies, seeds removed
  • 2 dried pasilla chilies, seeds removed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground achiote (annatto)
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, toasted
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Stew:
  • 2 pounds chicken pieces or vegetables for a vegetarian version
  • 2-3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup green beans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1/2 cup zucchini, sliced
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish


  1. Start by roasting the guajillo and pasilla chilies in a dry skillet for a few minutes until they become fragrant. Then, rehydrate them in hot water for about 15 minutes. Once rehydrated, remove the seeds and stems.
  2. In the same dry skillet, toast the sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and peanuts until they’re lightly browned.
  3. In a blender, combine the roasted chilies, toasted seeds and nuts, tomatoes, garlic, onion, and the spices (cinnamon, allspice, cloves, achiote). Blend until you have a smooth paste, adding chicken or vegetable broth as needed to achieve the right consistency.
  4. In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken or vegetables and brown them on all sides.
  5. Pour the blended sauce over the browned chicken or vegetables and stir well.
  6. Add the remaining chicken or vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a boil.
  7. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, or the vegetables are tender.
  8. Add the potatoes, green beans, corn, carrots, and zucchini to the pot. Continue to simmer until the vegetables are cooked and the stew thickens.
  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Serve the Traditional Pepián garnished with chopped fresh cilantro.

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