3 cups pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
5 dried guajillo chiles
5 dried ancho chiles
5 dried pasilla chiles
5 chile arbol pods
1/3 cup whole comino seeds (or 1/4 cup ground cumin)
2 to 4 tablespoons peppercorns (or equivalent amount of fresh-ground pepper)
1 1/2 cups sesame seeds
2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
1 onion, diced
2 heads garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 cup chicken stock
Salt to taste
Spread pepitas on cookie sheet and roast in slow oven (250 degrees) for about 30 minutes, checking and stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown. Set aside to cool. Stem and seed chiles. Toast chiles in batches in large skillet (cast iron works best) over medium-high heat until skins just begin to blacken. Place in deep bowl and add boiling water to cover. Allow to soak for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, reduce heat in skillet to medium and toast comino seeds, in batches if necessary, stirring or shaking pan constantly, taking care not to scorch them. Remove to plate to cool. Toast peppercorns, if using, for 20 to 30 seconds and remove to plate to cool. Reduce heat to medium-low and toast sesame seeds, in batches, if necessary, until golden. (Sesame seeds burn easily, so be sure skillet has cooled a bit before you start.) Remove to plate and allow to cool. Return heat to medium, heat oil in skillet and sauté onion until it begins to caramelize. Add garlic and cook another 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant. Add chicken stock and remove skillet from heat.
Using a molcajete (mortar and pestle) or spice grinder, grind comino seeds, then peppercorns. Remove chiles from water and place in blender or food processor. Reserve liquid. Add ground spices and process chiles until medium-thick paste forms, adding some reserved liquid if necessary. Add onion and garlic mixture and process until smooth. In a molcajete or spice grinder, process toasted sesame seeds until fine, add to paste in food processor and pulse to combine. Grind about half of toasted pepitas similarly and add to processor and pulse to combine. Chop or grind remaining pepitas into small pieces and stir into mixture. Taste and add salt as necessary.
Servings: 32. Serving size: 1/2 cup. Per serving: 103 calories, 3.3 g protein, 7.1 g fat, 7.5 g carbohydrates, 1.9 g dietary fiber, 9 mg sodium, trace cholesterol