Month of February: “Truly Mexican” Recipe: Shrimp in Simple Pumpkin Seed Sauce (Pipian Verde)

“Before you conquer the mountain, you must overcome the fear.” Isabel Allende

For as long as I can remember I have been afraid. Slowly, step by step, I am peeling back the layers, like a white onion, to courageously uncover what made me me. I am grinding my inherited family seeds into a digestible sauce that will satisfy my hunger for peace. I am adding a life giving spice to create something uniquely my own. I came, I saw, I had to conquer my history. And all along the way, in my perceived aloneness, I found some love…some precious, precious mighty love.

Ingredients: 1 cup raw green pumpkin seeds, 1/3 cup chopped white onion, 3 fresh jalapeno or serrano chiles, 1 small peeled garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 4-5 cups chicken stock, divided, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro.

1.Heat a skillet over medium heat and roast the pumpkin seeds for about 5 minutes until they start to brown slightly and puffed, stir and toss constantly. Put the pumpkin seeds in a blender with the onion, chiles, garlic and spices with 2 cups of chicken broth and blend until smooth, at least 3 minutes.

2.Heat oil in a 4-5 quart pan and add the sauce and cook on low for about 20 minutes, stirring and adding the additional stock to keep the sauce velvety smooth. Return the sauce to the blender after cooking and add the cilantro and blend.

3. Return the sauce to the pan and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Serve with rice or corn tortillas. Serve with lime wedges.

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