Food is an important part of any Mexican celebration. Cooking in Mexico during the holidays is about surrounding oneself with friends and family and creating a menu that reflects the joy of the season. Each meal is prepared with love and the memories of tradition. The following recipes are classic Mexican holiday dishes.
Christmas Chicken Breasts
1 stick butter
2 Tbsp. oil
4 whole chicken breasts, pounded thin (1/8″ thick)
1 small bunch of squash blossoms, washed, stems removed (found in Mexican markets)
8 mushrooms, sliced
4 Tbsp. ground huitlacoche (found in Mexican markets)
Pomegranate seeds or chopped red bell pepper.
1 poblano pepper
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
2 Tbsp. onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. flour
1 1/2 C. white wine
1 1/2 C. sour cream
1 Tbsp. chicken consommé powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash and dry the chicken breasts, season with salt and pepper. Place one squash blossom, 2 mushrooms, and 1 Tbsp. ground huitlacoche on one half of each breast. Fold other half over top and secure with a toothpick. Heat 1 Tbsp. of butter with 1 Tbsp. oil in a skillet and cook the chicken breasts until done. Set aside.
Roast the poblano pepper over an open flame or under the broiler until black on all sides, allow cooling. Peel under running water, remove core and seeds and chop coarsely. Grind with a bit of milk until a smooth paste forms (1 – 2 Tbsp. of milk should be enough).
Heat 1 Tbsp. butter in a saucepan over low flame; add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent. Add flour and stir constantly to prevent sticking until it becomes golden.
Add the white wine, stir to combine and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the consommé and the poblano chile paste and simmer 2 minutes more. Add the sour cream, stir to combine well and remove from heat. Adjust seasonings as needed.
Place one chicken breast on each serving plate, add sauce and garnish with the pomegranate or bell pepper.
Ana María Flores Sánchez
3 c. sugar
1 1/2 – 2 C. canned fruit, finely chopped
1 1/2 C. raisins
1 1/2 C. almonds, finely chopped
red food coloring as desired
tamale dough (see recipe, below)
1 8-oz. package cornhusks, washed, soaked in warm water for several hours or until very pliable, drained, and patted dry.
Combine first five ingredients, mixing well; set aside.
2 1/4 lb. freshly prepared masa
1 1/2 c. water
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. cornstarch
1 1/2 – 2 T. salt to taste
1/2 lb. lard
Place masa in large bowl. Add water gradually, and knead until smooth and no longer sticky. Combine baking powder, cornstarch, and salt, and knead into the masa. Set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the lard with an electric mixer or food processor until it is fluffy (about 5 minutes). Work the lard into the masa gradually, kneading thoroughly until mixture is smooth and stiff, or until a spoonful floats in a glass of cold water.
To assemble tamales, spread about 1 tablespoon of dough over the center of each cornhusk, leaving husk bare at the top, bottom and sides. Spread about 1 tablespoon of sweet filing over the dough. Fold sides of husk inward to center, lengthwise, so that they overlap. Fold pointed end toward center, and fold wider end down over pointed end, completely enclosing filling. Continue procedure until all dough is used.
To steam tamales, use a steamer or large pot with a rack or metal colander placed inside on top of a layer of clean corn shucks. Add enough water to fill pot below rack level and keep tamales above water. Place tamales upright on rack and cover with another layer of shucks. Bring water to a boil. Cover and steam for 1 hour or until tamale dough pulls away from husk; add more boiling water as necessary.
A thick drink made with masa and sometimes topped with fruit.
1/3 cup masa harina blended with 1/4 cup warm water in blender
3 cups water
5 tablespoons brown sugar or piloncillo
1 pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons vanilla or one one vanilla bean
1/2 cup pureed fruit (optional)
Heat all ingredients (except for any toppings you may be using) in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat while stirring. Bring to a simmer and continue to stir frequently for 20-25 minutes until thickened. If used, remove the cinnamon stick and/or vanilla bean. Pour into mugs or thick glasses. Warm fruit puree in a small saucepan and drizzle on top of Atole. Serves 2-3