During the holiday season in Texas, shucking a tamale is a tradition right up there with slicing into a fruitcake or spiking a batch of eggnog with brown liquor. It’s just what is done. The delicious custom stems from the Mexican festival of Las Posadas, a nine-day celebration that honors Mary and Joseph’s trek to Bethlehem. The starchy dish is ideal for gatherings and can be filled with anything from stewed meats and roasted peppers to fresh fruits. La Popular Tamale House excels in classic flavors, like pork-stuffed masa with guajillo chile pods and spices. The raja con queso from Las Almas Rotas is a savory mix of jalapeño peppers, cotija cheese, and house-made salsa verde. And Along Came Tamale’s sweet version—crammed with blueberries, vanilla extract, and cinnamon—makes for an ideal Christmas morning breakfast.
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