Cast Iron

Chicken Soup Pipian

October  2, 2016
0 Ratings
Photo by Rodrigo Iglesias
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Pipian is a green mole made with pumpkin seeds, a sauce I learned to make at a cooking class taught by a Zapotec chef in Teotitlan, Mexico. The sauce is delicious any time, but perfect for fall to use up the pumpkin seeds leftover from baking projects. At our class, we cooked over a comal, a smooth flat griddle over an open wood flame in Chef Reyna's outdoor courtyard kitchen, but at home I use my biggest cast iron skillet in a hot oven to mimic the flavor. This soup application is inspired by pozoles and squash soups with deeply flavored broths I enjoyed on my vacation to Oaxaca, Mexico. Toppings are a must! Enjoy! —Emily | Cinnamon&Citrus

What You'll Need
  • Pipian
  • 2 jalapenos, stemmed and quartered, seeded and ribbed for less heat
  • 2 small or 1 1/2 medium onions, peeled and trimmed at the root, quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 lime, halved
  • 1 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed and halved
  • 1 1/2 cups pepitas (raw shelled pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds (white/raw)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves (save the stems for your stock)
  • Soup base
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 10 parts (do not buy precut parts or you won’t get the backbone to flavor the broth! You can ask the butcher to break down the chicken for you, if you prefer.)
  • 8 cups water
  • Springs from a bunch of cilantro, tied in a bunch with butcher’s twine. I also save my cilantro sprigs regularly and put them in a zip top baggie in the freezer, so I add more if I have it to further flavor the stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • cubed queso blanco (or cotija, queso Oaxaca), chopped avocado, chopped fresh cilantro, radish slices, and more pepitas, for topping and serving
  1. To make the Pipian, preheat the oven to 450F. Place the jalapenos through tomatillos in a large (16") cast iron skillet; alternatively you can use a baking tray. Dry roast in the oven for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through. Meanwhile, toast the pepitas about 5 minutes in a dry pan and remove to a food processor. Toast the sesame seeds 2 minutes and remove to the food processor. Process until ground. Place all of the roasted vegetables, except the limes, in the processor. Squeeze in the juice of the roasted limes, and add the cumin and cilantro leaves. Process all together until you have a thick sauce. You can add up to 2 Tbs vegetable oil if the sauce is too thick to blend. Salt to taste.
  2. To make the soup: in a large Dutch oven or stockpot, cover the chicken with the water. Add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, salt and parcel of cilantro sprigs. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate, discarding the backbone, and allow to cool enough to remove the skin and pull the meat from the bone. Shred or roughly chop the meat and stir in the pipian sauce. Remove the cilantro, bay and cinnamon stick from the stock. Strain the stock then return to the pot and bring back to a simmer to keep warm.
  3. To serve, place a generous amount of shredded pipian chicken in the base of a soup bowl and ladle over the broth. Top with sliced radish, cilantro, cubed queso blanco, cubed avocado, and extra pepitas.

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