Versions of this Mexican recipe go back to pre-hispanic times. Pipian is similar to the popular Mole sauce but it contains fewer ingredients. This sauce is also known as pepián, and one of its ingredients is pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas. Just like Mole, this sauce comes in a variety of colors: Pipian colorado (a red sauce), pipian amarillo (a pale yellow sauce) and the recipe I'm sharing today, pipian verde. I think this is a wonderful warm vegan recipe, you can even serve it for thanksgiving. You'll need the following ingredients:
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- About a pound of small fresh tomatillos, or
- a 16 ounce can of crushed tomatillos
- 1 medium onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 serrano chile, or more to taste
- 1 cup of fresh cilantro
- Your choice of squash, 2 medium. I use carnival and acorn squash.
- 1 cup unsalted pepitas (shelled pumkins seeds)
- About two tablespoons of vegetable oil
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- Toasted pumpkin seeds and chopped cilantro, to garnish
Cut the squash in half. Roast in a shallow pan with a little bit of vegetable oil in a hot 375 degree oven. The squash halves will be done when its easy to pierce them with a fork, usually about 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the squash.
The squash will be slightly caramelized when its ready. Remove the fibers and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut into bite size sections and remove the peel with a sharp knife. Set aside.
Boil the the tomatillos, the onion, the garlic and the serrano chile in a cup of vegetable stock. When the tomatillo mixture is very soft (about 10 minutes), set aside and let it cool.
Ground the pepitas in a blender until you obtain a fine powder. The finer the powder, the smoother your sauce will be. Make sure you don't add any liquid. Pulverizing the dry seeds makes the sauce delicate and nutty, adding liquid changes the flavor. Set aside for later.
Blend the tomatillo mixture and the fresh cilantro and another cup of the vegetable stock in a blender, until you have a smooth sauce, similar to "salsa verde". Transfer to a sauce pan and start cooking under low heat. Add the pumkin seed powder and stir often, add salt and white pepper to taste.
As the broth reduces the sauce will begin to thicken to the consistency of heavy cream. Add the squash sections and simmer under very low heat for about ten more minutes. Don't let it scorch. Add a little bit more stock if necessary.
Correct the seasonings. Serve with white rice, warm corn tortillas or cornbread. Garnish with extra toasted pumpkin seeds and chopped cilantro.