After poultry, pork is the most popular meat to serve in pipián sauces, and goes particularly well with green pipián, where the fresh green chiles and herbs counterbalance the richness of pork.
Made with vegetable broth instead of meat or poultry broth, pipián verde makes a good vegetarian dish. Cut into large chunks and cooked in broth or roasted in the oven, a mixture of squash, carrots, corn on the cob, chayote, green beans and potatoes is a delicious substitute for meat.
For the pork:
- 2 pounds pork shoulder (called pierna in Mexico) cut into 1 inch cubes
- ½ medium white onion, peeled
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
- 1 medium carrot, cut into chunks
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 whole peppercorns
- 2 whole allspice
- 2 whole cloves
- salt to taste
For the pipián:
- ¾ cup hulled pumpkin seeds
- 8 tomatillos
- ½ medium onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 2-4 serrano chiles, according to taste
- 4 poblano chiles, roasted, seeded, peeled and chopped
- 4 romaine lettuce leaves
- 3 sprigs cilantro
- 3 sprigs epazote (wormseed)
- 4 cups reserved stock
- 2 tablespoons corn oil
- salt to taste
Place pork, onion, garlic, carrot, bay leaf, peppercorns, allspice, cloves and salt to taste in a stockpot, bring to a boil, lower heat and cook, covered, until the pork is tender.
Strain and reserve broth. Set pork aside.
In a dry, hot skillet. Toast the pumpkin seeds until they pop, shaking the pan to prevent burning. Remove and cool seeds. When cool, grind them in a spice grinder or molcajete.
Place the tomatillos, onion, garlic and serranos in a saucepan with 2 cups of the reserved broth and boil until the tomatillos are soft. Place this mixture in a blender with the poblanos, ground pumpkin seeds, lettuce and herbs. Puree until smooth.
Heat the corn oil in a large, heavy pot and add the pureed mixture. Gradually add the remaining 2 cups stock, stirring constantly.
Simmer over low heat 30 minutes, stirring frequently so that the pipián does not burn. Add salt to taste.
Add the pork to the sauce and heat through. Serve in deep bowls. Serves 6.
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