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Tamales: A Texas Holiday Tradition

By Selena Hernandez, CBS 11 News
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Tamales are displayed in a bar in Argentina on June 14, 2009. (credit: JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)

Tamales are displayed in a bar in Argentina on June 14, 2009. (credit: JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)

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ADDISON (CBSDFW.COM) – Tamales are a big Texas holiday tradition and, chances are, you will enjoy a few this Christmas. But making the seasonal savory treats is no easy task. “It’s a time, labor intensive process,” explained Patrick Grouss, general manager of the Cantina Laredo in Addison. But most will agree, the final product is well worth the effort and patience.

Cantina Laredo executive chef Ruben Lozano told CBS 11 News how he makes his masa – corn meal that encases the savory meat stuffing — from scratch. “Corn meal, cumin, garlic, little touch of salt and chicken broth,” he said.

Lozano has mastered the art of balancing savory spices for his tamales. Just the right amount of seasoning is mixed into the masa and spread evenly onto a corn husk that has been soaked in water to make it more pliable. It is then filled with a meat of your choice – pork, beef and chicken are the most common.

After the ingredients have been added, the tamales are rolled and steamed, and then ready to be enjoyed. The process requires skill and practice, but the result is a holiday gift well worth unwrapping and savoring.

When it comes to making tamales, tradition is perhaps the key ingredient to this holiday favorite. “You get a house full of family together and you get to make a lot of memories,” Grouss said.

For many families across Texas, tamales are an essential element in celebrating the Christmas holiday. It is a tradition that can be traced back to Las Posadas, a re-enactment commemorating Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. “Having tamales, and cooking during those times together, is how it’s brought into that,” Grouss said. “Nowadays, families gather not only to make tamales, but to create memories.”

Interested in making your own traditional tamales? Click here for recipe ideas and cooking tips.

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