Chicken and Vegetables in Pepian Sauce

This dish can be made with pork or beef instead of chicken. It varies from kitchen to kitchen as to which vegetables are included, how spicy, and how to thicken it.

Ingredients (8 servings)

  • 3 lbs. Chicken pieces
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 – 2 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 1 cup quartered peeled carrots
  • 1 cup quartered peeled mirletons or chayotes
  • 2 cups quartered peeled potatoes
  • 6 plum tomatoes
  • 8 tomatillos
  • 4 gloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup shelled raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 chile pasa, a dark sweet smelling large wrinkled dried chile
  • 2 small chiles guaques, a spicy reddish-brown dried chile
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 3 whole allspice berries
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup corn masa dough made with corn flour, masa harina and water
  • 3 branches fresh cilantro


Cook the chiken in 6 cups of water with a 1 -2 carrots, celery stalk, and an onion until done. Strain broth and reserve both the chiken and the broth, but discard the vegetables. Cook the remaining chopped vegetables: carrot, potato, mirletons in some of the chiken broth and set aside the broth and the vegetables.

Toast in a skillet the tomatoes, tomatillos and garlic. Peel these and set aside. Next toast the sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, chiles and onions. If you do not wish the Pepian to be terribly spicy remove the seeds and inner membrane of the chiles. Grind all the toasted items in a blender. In a large cooking pot fry this blender sauce in 1 – 2 tablespoon vegetable oil for 5 minutes.

Toast the cinnamon stick, cloves, and allspice berries. Then grind these with the chocolate and add to the fried sauce. Then add the 6 cups of chicken broth, stirring in the corn dough masa and cilantro and cook until thickened about 20 minutes. You may add a little more masa if necessary to thicken. It will be a runny sauce.

Before serving add the chicken and vegetable pieces to the pot, covering with sauce and reheat briefly.

Serve with rice. Place 1/2 cup of rice in each bowl, add a cup of sauce and pieces of chicken and vegetables. Eat with tortillas.

You can find this and more Guatemalan recipes in the book “Favorite Recipes From Guatemala”.