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Traditional Latino, holiday recipes
Photo courtesy:

By Source: La Voz Staff


Tamales are a traditional holiday food celebrated all over North, Central, and South America, with many different ways to make. This recipe is typical of the Southwestern U.S. for pork Tamales (12 doz.).


Red Tamale Sauce

15 Large dried chilies (New Mexico, and or pasilla)

4-5 Garlic cloves

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons shortening

Note: this can be made in advance and saved in your freezer

Remove stems and seeds from dried chile peppers. Place peppers in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 2 to 5 minutes. Remove peppers from the oven and soak in hot water with a small plate on top to keep them submerged for about 30 minutes. Place peppers and 2 1/2 cups of reserved soaking water into a blender and blend on medium to medium high until smooth adding garlic and salt while blending. In a 2 quart sauce pan stir flour into melted shortening over med heat until browned. Carefully stir in blended chile mixture, simmer uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes or until slightly thickened (if too thick add a tablespoon of water until you reach the desired thickness).

Note: when handling chile pods be sure to use latex gloves to protect your skin. Avoid contact with eyes).


3 1/2 lbs pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into 1 inch cubes (if you want less fat you can trim, however don’t trim too much fat from pork as this provides flavor)

10 cups of water

1 medium onion, quartered

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 1/2 teaspoons salt

4 cups red tamale sauce

3/4 cup shortening

6 cups masa harina (any brand, we use Maseca or Bob’s Red Mill Organic Masa Harina)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

50 dried corn husks (8” long)


In a large pot bring pork, water, onion, garlic and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt to a boil. Simmer covered for aproximately 2 1/2 hours or until meat is tender. Remove meat from broth and cool. Once cooled, shred the meat with a fork discarding any unwanted fat. Strain the broth and reserve 6 cups. In a large pan, heat the red tamale sauce and add shredded pork; simmer covered for about 10 minutes (if tamale sauce is frozen allow it to thaw for about 24 hours in the refrigerator).


To make the masa, beat shortening on medium in a large bowl for about 1 minute or until smooth. In a seperate bowl, stir together masa harina, baking powder and 2 teaspoons of salt. Alternately add masa harina mixture and broth to shortening, beating well after each addition (add just enough broth to make a thick, creamy paste).

In the meantime, soak corn husks in warm water for at least 20 minutes with a small plate on top to keep them submerged. Rinse well to remove any corn silk and drain well.


To assemble tamaels, spread 2 tablespoons of the masa mixture on the center of the husks, using either a flat spatula or a 3” sanitized spackle to spread the masa towards you, speading evenly over about 1/2 of the husk. Place about 1 tablespoon of pork filling in the middle of the masa and with two hands fold inward to cover the pork filling with masa and fold one side over the top of the other, while folding the excess husk underneath (this can be a little tricky at first but once you get the hang of it, production becomes much quicker, so don’t get frustrated if your first few tamales look like a trainwreck). Note: you can tear a small shoe lace thick size piece from any excess husks to tie your tamales husks closed.


In a large pot with a steaming colander add water to just below where the bottom of where colander sits on the pot. Place tamales facing up along the sides of your colinder until filled (if your colander is too big for 12 dozen tamales, add crumbled up foil or crumbled left over husks to fill the space). Bring water to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and steam for 40 minutes adding water when necessary.

To freeze, allow tamales to cool to touch leaving tamales in the husks and then place into freezer bags.

To reheat, take out frozen tamales, and wrap individually in a damp paper towel and reheat in the microwave on a plate for a minute and a half to 2 and a half minutes until heated through, depending on your microwave.

Biscochitos are a must for the holiday’s



3 cups of flour

1/2 cup of sugar

1 cup of lard

1 teaspoon of anise seed

1 egg

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/8 cup orange juice

1/4 cup of cinnamon sugar to
sprinkle on top


First preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Wash hands thoroughly, before handling any ingredients. In a large bowl mix sugar, lard, anise seed, and egg well. In a separate large bowl mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add flour mixture with lard, egg and sugar mixture while slowly adding orange juice. Knead dough into a ball and roll out 3/16” thick with flour on a clean surface with a rolling pin (lightly).

Cut rolled out dough with a cookie cutter or a use a small glass top dipping the tops of your cookies into the cinnamon sugar.

Place cookies on a cookie sheet cinnamon side up and bake for ten minutes until a nice golden color on top.

Chocolate has been a part of the Mexican culture since the time of the Aztecs when it was prepared as a drink with spices and corn masa. Even to this day, we love to enjoy Champurrado, especially during the holiday season.



1 cup corn masa (Maseca)

4 cups whole milk

1 cone (8 oz.) Piloncillo or Brown Sugar

2 disks (3 oz. each) Mexican chocolate, like Abuelita, chopped

1 tsp. ground cinnamon (or stick)


Add corn masa to large, heavy saucepot. Using whisk, slowly add 4 cups water, whisking constantly until smooth and combined. Place saucepot over medium-high heat; bring Maseca mixture to boil.

Add milk, piloncillo or brown sugar, chocolate and cinnamon to pot. Bring milk mixture to boil, whisking constantly, until chocolate is melted and sugar cane is dissolved, 5-7 minutes more.

Remove pot from heat. Divide champurrado evenly among serving mugs.

It is recommended that you strain it when serving.





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