Everyone loves traditional holiday fare – mom’s stuffing, grandma’s sugar cookies, or that best-kept secret recipe that keeps friends and family coming back for more. But where does tradition end and boring begin?
This holiday season, if you’re looking for unique twists on traditional family recipes, or are looking for something entirely new to introduce into your holiday menu, you’re not alone.
In fact, many families are looking to wholesome ingredients as a way to add flavor and healthfulness to their holiday meals and baked goods. One way to steal the culinary spotlight is with California Raisins, which bring natural sweetness to a multitude of seasonal dishes, from indulgent confections to savory main courses.
“The versatility of raisins is endless,” said Larry Blagg, senior vice president of marketing for the California Raisin Marketing Board. “Because they are an all-natural, dried-by-the-sun fruit with no added sugar, California Raisins add nutritious sweetness to any holiday meal or favorite dessert.”
Try these recipes for a tasty and unique twist on classic holiday favorites:
- Pumpkin Tamales with Shredded Beef and California Raisins – Holidays are a time for that special entrée, and these flavorful tamales will please many palates
- California Raisin Bacon Brussels Sprouts – A delightful sweet-savory side-dish that celebrates fall and winter’s bounty
- Blue Ribbon Raisin Apple Hand Pies – A unique take on traditional pie, these individual pies are flaky on the outside and sweet on the inside
- Gingerbread Men – A beloved holiday cookie gets a makeover (and some added nutrition!)
- Raisin Peek-a-Boo Cookies – A traditional holiday cookie with a sweet raisin center drizzled in chocolate
In addition to their wide range of uses in holiday cooking, California raisins are also the most economical dried fruit, making them one purchase this season that won’t break the bank. For a fresh take on holiday staples that are sure to become new traditions in your household, try this delicious recipe, or look for other holiday recipe ideas at www.LoveYourRaisins.com.
Pumpkin Tamales with Shredded Beef and California Raisins
- 2 pounds boneless beef chuck or shoulder
- 1 onion, peeled
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped carrots
- 1 cup finely chopped celery
- 1 cup California raisins
- Salt and pepper
- 3 cups masa harina
- 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
- 2 teaspoons toasted ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/2 cup whipped vegetable shortening
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth, warmed
- 16 dried corn husks, soaked in warm water
- Place roast in a large stockpot and add cold water to cover. Cut onion in half and add to pot. Heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for about 1 hour 30 minutes. Remove beef from broth and let rest for 10 minutes; reserve broth. Shred beef, discarding excess fat. In large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add carrots and celery; cook for 5 minutes. Stir in shredded beef and raisins along with 1 cup of reserved broth. Heat and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside and cool completely.
- Measure masa harina, baking powder, coriander and salt into mixing bowl; mix well. Beat in pumpkin and shortening. Slowly, add warm broth, stirring in 1/2 cup at a time until moist enough to form a ball that is wet but not too sticky. Cover with wet towel and set aside.
- When corn husks are soft and pliable, separate into individual pieces. Arrange 2 husks, slightly overlapping side by side, and alternating tips and stem ends to form rectangles about 9 x 7 inches. Spoon about 1/3 cup dough onto center of each corn husk; with wet fingers, spread to about 1/4-inch thick. Add about 1/4 cup shredded beef filling down center of dough. Fold long edges of husks over filling, lightly overlapping the edges. Fold ends under or twist and tie each end tightly with a narrow strip of corn husk to form a packet.
- Arrange the tamales in a large steamer with seam side facing up. Add water to bottom part of steamer and heat to boiling. Steam tamales for about 2 hours or until they are firm to the touch.
- To Serve: Arrange tamales on a platter and serve while still very hot.
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