Pumpkin Seed Green Molé
By Nancy Eisman
According to Wikipedia, molé is the generic word for a variety of sauces used in Mexican cuisine, as well as for the dishes based on these sauces. The best known is molé poblano, a dark reddish-brown sauce made from slowly cooked chiles, seeds, nuts, other spices, and chocolate, originating from the state of Puebla. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of variations of this mole, as well as several green molés featuring fresh herbs and greens.
A traditional green molé, believed to originate from the Mexican state of Oaxaca, is pipian verde (aka pepita sauce), made from crushed pumpkin seeds, tomatillos, green chiles, cilantro, assorted greens, onions, and other herbs and spices. Reminiscent of tomatillo salsa, pipian verde has a fresh complexity that makes it an outstanding dipping or finishing sauce. With warm tortillas or chips, poured over enchiladas or tamales, or layered in a potato or Pumpkin Polenta Casserole (recipe below), pipian verde is an easy and versatile recipe you’ll want in your repertoire.
Makes about 6 cups
1 cup Raw Pepitas
2 Jalapeño Chiles
1 Green Serrano Chile
1 cup White Onion, chopped
4 Garlic cloves
½ cup Cilantro
3 cups Mixed Greens (chard, arugula, kale, etc.)
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 + 1 cups Vegetable Stock
Toast the pepitas on the stove in a dry sauté pan or in a toaster oven. Reserve ¼, and then finely grind the remaining pepitas until powdered.
Roast the chiles over a gas burner using a metal cooling rack, until charred. When cool enough to handle, de-stem and remove the seeds.
Place the tomatillos, chiles, onion, garlic, cilantro, mixed greens, ½ the olive oil, cumin, oregano, and 2 cups of the vegetable stock in a blender. Process until smooth.
Add the remaining oil into a pan, heat to medium, add the mixture to the pan and simmer for at least 10 minutes.
Add the ground pepitas to the mixture and stir to incorporate. Simmer an additional 10 minutes, whisking occasionally, until creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
When the mixture has cooled slightly, return it to the blender and carefully process until smooth and velvety.
Pumpkin Polenta Casserole with Pipian Verde
2 packages Melissa’s Polenta, cut into ¼” thick rounds
4 cups Roasted
Pink Pumpkin or Butternut Squash
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 package Melissa’s Soy Ground
1 cup White Onion, diced
½ cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
3 cups Fresh Greens
2 teaspoons Dried Oregano
3 cups Pipian Verde
¼ cup Toasted Pepitas (reserved from making sauce)
½ cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
Brown the onions, soy ground, and ½ cup cilantro in a sauté pan with a little olive oil.
Spray an approximately 9 x 12” deep pan with cooking oil.
Cover the bottom of the pan with ½ the polenta rounds
Cover the polenta with ½ cup pipian verde.
Add a layer of the browned soy ground, and add another ½ cup of sauce.
Add a layer of the fresh greens, and top with another ½ cup of sauce
Top with the remaining polenta rounds, and cover with the remaining pipian verde’.
Sprinkle the top with pepitas and cilantro, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and let rest at least 20 minutes before serving.
*Roast sliced pumpkin or squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper for about 30 minutes at 375 degrees.