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In the Kitchen with Common Hope: Pepián

Today in the Common Hope kitchen we are preparing one of Guatemala’s most famous traditional dishes, Pepián! This dish is considered one of the oldest dishes in Guatemalan food heritage and was borne from a fusion of Mayan and Spanish cultures. A meaty, spicy stew, you can make Pepián with beef, chicken, or both. It’s really up to your preference because both are delicious! This is a staple dish in many homes in Guatemala, and just like with any soup or stew, you will find that different cooks will add different ingredients, especially when it comes to spices. Below we are sharing Chef Vinicio’s very own recipe. If you live in the U.S., you will likely have to make a trip to your local hispanic supermercado to find some of the chilis and spices. But we promise it is worth the extra effort!

So put on your apron and give this deliciously famous Guatemalan dish a try!

Ingredients for Black Pepian: *Serves four people

  1. 2 lb. meat (either chicken or beef, preferably a rump cut of beef)

  2. 1 guajillo chili (aka guaque chili, found in Mexican supermarket)

  3. 1 pasilla chili (found in Mexican supermarket)

  4. 2 oz tomatillo

  5. 2 oz sesame seeds

  6. 2 oz pepitoria (squash) seeds, can substitute pumpkin seeds

  7. 4 tomatos

  8. 1 medium onion

  9. 2 garlic cloves

  10. 1 handful cilantro

  11. 1 cinnamon stick

  12. 1 liter of water

  13. ½ lb of flour

  14. ½ chayote (type of green squash found in Mexican supermarket)

  15. 4 carrots

  16. ½ lb. médium sized potatoes

  17. Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Put meat and liter of water in a pot to cook. Before meat has finished cooking, add vegetables to cook until tender. Remove meat and vegetables, leaving broth in the pot.

  2. Separately, take a cast iron comal (smooth flat griddle) or griddle and toast the sesame seeds, pepitoria, cinnamon stick, chilies, the tomatillo, tomato, onion, and garlic, one by one until browned.

  3. After toasting the ingredients, place in blender with some of the broth from the pot. Blend until smooth.

  4. In a separate comal or pan, toast the flour. Once toasted, mix the flour with some broth from the pot until smooth.

  5. Pour the blended ingredients and broth into the pot with remaining broth. Thicken by pouring the flour broth into the pot and stir well.

  6. Place the handful of cilantro in the pot and cook for 30 minutes.

  7. Finally, add meat and vegetable to the pot and bring to a boil so the flavors mix well. Salt and pepper to taste.

  8. Serve with rice and tortillas.

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