Traditional Foods for Las Posadas

These are just some of the foods that can be prepared for the traditional Las Posadas dinner. I hope you enjoy preparing these foods. Feliz Navidad!

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Tamales

Basic Masa de Harina for Tamales

  • 3 cups packaged Masa de Harina for Tamales
  • 2 cups lukewarm broth (from beef)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup solid vegetable shortening

Combine masa for tamales and baking powder in large mixing bowl. Mix in broth. Beat shortening in separate bowl with electric mixer until slightly fluffy. Add to masa mixture and beat until it develops a somewhat spongy texture. Beef Filling for Tamales

  • 1 large package corn husks - about 24
  • 4 lb Chuck Roast
  • 4 cups water
  • 10 dried red Poblano chile peppers
  • 1/4 cup ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup salt

Early in the morning (up to a few days before Christmas), place the roast and water into a large pot or crockpot and slow cook four to six hours, or until it shreds easily with a fork. Remove the meat from pot. Place in large bowl, add salt and shred, reserving broth for the masa and the filling.

Remove the seeds (using gloves so you don't burn your eyes!) and stems from chiles. Boil in a pan with one cup water for about five minutes. Transfer chiles to food processor and add cumin, pepper, garlic and enough of the chile broth to make a paste when all spices are blended together.

Add spice paste to shredded beef and mix thoroughly. Add as much of the remaining broth as necessary to make a delicately moist, but not watery filling.

Making The Tamales

Now comes the fun part. Divide the masa into 16 balls. Open up the corn husks and tear 16 1/4 inch wide strips off husks for typing up the tamales. Lay a corn husk on your counter and pat dry with paper towel. Place a ball of masa on it and flatten into a square shape. Put a heaping spoonful of filling inside.

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Pick up the two long sides of the husk, fold them over into the middle and enclose. Roll the flaps of the husk in the same direction around the tamale. Fold the small, pointy bottom end up to close off the bottom and secure the tamale by tying it up in a bow. Repeat for all 16 tamales.

These can keep in the refrigerator for a few days before being steamed. To steam, line a steaming pan (Mexican or vegetable steamer) with extra corn husks. Put about two inches of water in the bottom of the pan. Gently place tamales inside and cover pan. Simmer until steaming hot-about an hour. (Short cut: You can also microwave them, a few at a time for about three minutes.)

Menudo or Pozole

Menudo is made with tripe but you can make Pozole, which is essentially the same soup, but made with chicken and pork in lieu of tripe.

For Menudo:

  • 3 lb tripe

For Pozole:

  • 2 lb lean pork roast
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

From here on out it's the same for both:

  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 4 - 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 - 4 tbsp American chili powder
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1- 3 tbsp oregano
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 tbsp chicken bouillon (or more, to taste)
  • 2 16 ounce cans white hominy
  • salt and pepper to taste

Garnish:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup oregano
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup serrrano chiles, finely diced (hot! optional)
  • a sampler of salsas

In a large Dutch oven or crockpot, place first nine ingredients. Heat to boiling and then cover and simmer for four to six hours. Add hominy and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook an additional hour.

To serve, place each garnish in a little bowl and let everyone add whatever they want to their bowls of soup. Sit down and chow down!

Champurrado (Chocolate Atole)

  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup masa harina--corn flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, grated
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Heat the mild and chocolate in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve the chocolate. When chocolate is completely dissolved, remove from the heat and set aside to keep warm. Mix the masa harina with the water in another saucepan; place over low heat, add the cinnamon stick, and cook until the mixture has thickened and the masa becomes translucent. Add the chocolate milk and sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar and simmer for a few minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and serve the champurrado hot in cups or mugs.

Arroz Dulce (Rice Sweet)

  • 3/4 cup rice
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 cup rich cream
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Scald milk. Put the rice into a deep baking dish, cover with the hot milk, and bake in a moderate oven for 3 hours, or until the rice is soft. Stir occasionally during first hour to prevent sticking. If necessary, add more hot milk. When almost done, add vanilla, sugar, and cream, and finish baking.

Apple Cocktails (Chilled or Steaming)

  • 24 ice cubes
  • 10 oz. Cuervo Gold tequila
  • 2 Tbsp Creme de Cassis
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 8 apple wedges for garnish

Fill a blender with ice cubes. Add tequila, creme de cassis, cider and lemon juice. Shake well and strain into eight glasses. Add the ice cubes and garnish each glass with an apple wedge.

Mexican Rice

Serves eight.

  • 3 cups quick brown rice (or Minute Rice if desired)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa fresca
  • salt to taste

In medium sized saucepan bring two cups water and salsa to boil. Add brown rice. Stir well. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until fluffy. Add salt to taste. Serve immediately.

Editor's Note: Here is another article by Debra with more information about this holiday:

Do you celebrate Las Posadas? Share your favorite memories or traditions here.

About The Author: Debra Frick is a mother of 5 and a grandmother to 8 grandsons and one granddaughter. She is a published author and poetress. Recycling and saving money are her passions. She also loves crocheting and cooking. She is also a pet rescue volunteer and has many pets of her own.

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