Hola, amigos! December is here and the holidays are just around the corner. Yay! In Mexico, this means it’s time for a non-stop marathon of parties, dinners, get-togethers, and celebrations that starts on December 12th and doesn’t stop until January 6th. Yes, time to fatten up! Let me tell you it’s a true feat of strength if you can still button your pants by the time the holidays are over. Why do we eat so much? I’ll give you ten good reasons!
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I love the holidays in Mexico! There’s plenty of family time, parties, and above all, good food. In Mexico, everybody makes food a priority, but it really takes center stage during the Christmas holidays. I know, this is probably not what the holiday season should be about, but Mexican food is Mexican food. Trust me when I say that in Mexico, the holiday season really is all about eating.
The menu at a Mexican Christmas party largely depends on whatever people like to eat, but there are certain staples that you just have to have. I mean, the holidays just wouldn’t be the same without these ten delicious foods.
The holiday season is tamale season! Although you can have tamales on practically any day of the year, they can’t go missing from a good Mexican Christmas party. There are hundreds of different tamales to choose from, so they always guarantee happy dinner guests. And best of all, they’re the dish that keeps on giving. Make a large batch of tamales, and you have enough for a party, and for the guests to take home! If you’re looking for some good tamale recipes, go to this post.
Buñuelos are actually a Spanish dish that caught on in Mexico and they have remained a favorite holiday food for perhaps hundreds of years. They are big, brown, round, crispy treats that are sprinkled with sugar and served with syrup. You can find them everywhere during the holidays, in street markets as well as in homes. Every Mexican kid loves them! Check out the recipe here.
3. Atole and champurrado
Atole is a hot, thick, sweet drink made from corn dough and water or milk that dates back to Aztec times. It’s one of the most popular drinks in Mexico, not only because it is cheap and easy to make, but also because it’s the best energizing hot beverage there is. One cup of atole for breakfast and you’re all set until lunch time! There’s all kinds of flavors for atole -strawberry, cinnamon, vanilla, guava, and more- but the chocolate version is called champurrado. I don’t know why it has a different name, but it is probably the most mind-blowing cup of hot chocolate you will ever have! See the recipe here.
Romeritos are wild greens native to Mexico that closely resemble rosemary sprigs, hence the name. These veggies are very popular during Christmas and Lent, and they are usually cooked in mole sauce with potatoes and shrimp cakes. I must confess I absolutely love romeritos. I could eat them every single day of my life! This dish is one of the reasons I get so excited about the holidays. Remember what I said about food being center stage? Romeritos are the stars of the show for me! Find the recipe for romeritos here.
Bacalao is the Spanish word for dried, salted cod. This is another Spanish dish that became popular in Mexico. It is cooked with chickpeas, almonds, olives, onions, and chili pepppers, of course. If you like fine dining, bacalao is wonderful served with crispy bread and wine. But if you’re a more down-to-earth foodie, you will love bacalao sandwiches. Definitely, bacalao is another dish I would love to eat every single day of my life! See how to cook bacalao here.
6. Spicy pork tenderloin or leg
Turkey is native to Mexico, but strangely, it’s not as popular here as it is in other countries. In fact, many Mexicans would rather have spicy pork tenderloin or leg for Christmas dinner. The pork is baked with chili pepper sauce and it comes out pretty spicy, but it’s also very good. And this is yet another dish that gets turned into sandwiches the next day! More food that keeps on giving!
Pozole is another must-have at a Mexican party, whether it’s Christmas or not. This thick, hearty, spicy soup is made with hominy, chicken or pork, chili peppers, and topped with greens. A single bowl of pozole can be a meal all in itself! However, pozole is not just a Christmas food. It can also be served at any festive ocassion, including birthdays and Independence Day. It’s always a good day for pozole! Read all about this dish here.
8. Fruit punch
Ponche is the another holiday drink that you need to have at a Mexican Christmas party! It’s a healthy alternative to the carb and calorie bomb that is atole. Fruit punch is served hot and made with apples, guavas, raisins, prunes, cinnamon sticks, and tejocotes– a little, yellow, round, native Mexican fruit that tastes citrusy sweet. Personally, I love fruit punch because it’s the perfect hot beverage for cold winter evenings. It’s sweet and it’s healthy. What’s not to like? Find the recipe for Mexican fruit punch here.
9. Apple Salad
Yes, I have to throw salad in here. Apple salad is served as a side dish in most Mexican Christmas dinners because it goes well with either turkey or pork. Also, it’s pretty good and easy to make, and almost everyone likes it. It’s made with diced apples, celery, walnuts, and raisins with a dressing of sour cream. You can also add other ingredients, like pineapples or shredded coconut. Apple salad is very versatile! Get the recipe here.
10. Beet salad
More salad? Yes! Beet salad is called Christmas Eve Salad in Mexico, and I must say that most people are not into it. However, my grandmother used to make beet salad and I loved having it on Christmas. Also, it’s easy to make. You dice and cook the beets. Then, let them cool but don’t drain out all the water. Once the beets and the water are cool, add diced apples, jicama, orange juice, and sugar to taste. Mix well and refrigerate. Serve cold and garnish with orange wedges and peanuts. It’s healthy and delicious!
Now that you have an entire Mexican Christmas menu, I hope you dare to try one or two of these fine dishes. I only recommend that you wear your fat pants if you are planning to indulge like a Mexican dinner guest. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!