Pipián Verde – pumpkin seed mole

I was lucky enough to eat at Poppy in Seattle for restaurant week, not once, but twice! Poppy is the restaurant of one of my favorite chefs and herb gardeners, Jerry Traunfeld. His food is Ah-mazing! What an incredible inspiration for me to eat there.

One of the (many) dishes I enjoyed was his chicken in pumpkin seed sauce. It was divine and it’s still on the menu, so go!! I have absolutely no idea how he made it. But after some googling, I got some ideas of my own.

I wanted mine to look bright and be a bit more pesto-like in consistency – also life has gotten busier, so I wasn’t looking for super complicated. Most recipes describe roasting tomatillos and making your own salsa verde. I opted to use pre-made salsa verde from Trader Joe’s instead, making this a breeze.

In a food processor, blend one clean and semi-dry bunch of cilantro with one cup of roasted pepitas (green pumpkin seeds without the white hull you see on the ones you get out of your Halloween pumpkin). Then thin the thick paste by blending the full 12 ounce jar of salsa verde. This makes a thicker sauce than what I had in the restaurant, but the flavor is spectacular. You could thin it by using a larger jar of salsa or with broth if you want a saucier sauce.

I heated it up and served it on oven roasted chicken thighs and rice. Leftovers were great with scrambled eggs. Can’t wait to try it with more things! This made over two cups. It should keep for about 5 days or you can freeze it. The sauce got thicker after a couple of days.

PS this rice is a delicious spin off of green rice, it’s celery, onion and green bell pepper sautéed with rice then topped with beef broth used to make pot roast the day before. It turned out a little darker than I expected because of the rich broth. It was excellent cooked in the oven in cast iron under chicken thighs and the flavor was similar to paella. It even developed a socarrat crust!

Pipián Verde:

  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 – 12 ounce jar salsa verde

Blend and warm up to serve, thin with broth or more salsa if desired.

Chicken and rice:

  • 3-4 chicken thighs, bone in
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups broth

Chop the veggies and sauté in cast iron (or other oven safe) pan with 1 tablespoon of the fat of your choice. Once the veggies soften and one cup of rice and stir. Meanwhile salt and pepper the chicken thighs. Then add two cups broth, top with chicken and roast in the oven at 400 for 30 minutes. At 30 minutes check the chicken and see if the rice needs more broth. If chicken looks close, turn the oven to broil for 5-10 minutes to give the skin a crispier texture. Watch this carefully. Or skip this and just roast the chicken a bit longer, for a total of 45 minutes.

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