Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Winter Holiday Dinner 2015

I had not made any holiday meals since Thanksgiving 2011. In the past I cooked using either my ex’s family’s recipes or those belonging to my family. I decided that for 2015 I would create my on traditions. I have wanted to make pipián sauce for years, specifically pipián rojo de pepitas. Pipián rojo de pepitas is a red pipián sauce using pumpkin seeds which are known as pepitas in Spanish. I first found this in a jar from Doña Maria brand sauces. I loved the heat and the depth of flavor. I used to have a cookbook with a pipián de pepitas recipe, but it was lost.  

When I decided to go looking for Mexican cuisine cookbooks, one had to have a version of that recipe. That is why I bought 1,000 Mexican Recipes by Marge Poore. It did not hurt it had other recipes I liked. This was going to be my gravy for the winter holiday dinner. I decided if I was making pipián de pepitas, I would go with Mexican or Mexican inspired dishes. Since I made this on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2015, and ate it again on Christmas Day, I refer to it a winter holiday as opposed to the specific day.

Pipián rojo de Pepitas

I made the pipián rojo de pepitas twice, once following the recipe and the other swapping the dried anchos for the dried guajillos. I preferred the guajillo version. The ancho version was tasty, but it had no kick or heat. I found a pipián rojo using guajillos, but it was a sesame seed version. To go with the season, I wanted pumpkin seed pipián. Pipián is a sauce using seeds or nuts and is a form of Mexican mole sauce.

Since I was just cooking for me, I only planned on making a turkey breast not a whole bird. I was going to adjust the recipe accordingly. I found this wonderful roasted turkey recipe. It used a guajillo chile pepper marinade and roasted the bird in banana leaves. After watching a few Mexican cuisine cooking/food shows I was intrigued about using guajillos. Guajillos were easy to find. I had to go to an Asian market to find the banana leaves. This turkey was most succulent turkey I have had in long time.

Turkey breast  in guajillo marinade roasted in banana leaves

As my side dish I decided to make esquites. Esquites is a Mexican roasted corn salad. It is related to elotes, a Mexican street food. The main difference between the two dishes is that elotes is corn on the cob and esquites is corn off the corn. Both have lime juice, chile powders, mayonnaise, cotija cheese, cilantro, and of course corn. I found a great recipe online. However next time I will tone down the lime juice just a tad.


I found a recipe for Masa Stuffing online. Masa is the flour used to make corn tortillas and tamales. I changed the recipe since I was already making a corn side dish. I replaced corn with canned diced tomatoes and black beans. This recipe also needed more water or broth, because it resulted in being too dry. The pipián sauce and cheese were used to moisten the stuffing after making the dish.  

Masa stuffing

This was a fantastic winter holiday meal. I loved all the dishes, some needed some tweaks. That is always the case with new recipes. I will include links to the online recipes. 

Roasted Turkey with Pipián Sauce

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