A Sonoran Christmas Table

In Sonora, it is customary for mothers and grandmothers to cook a great feast that includes baked turkey stuffed with ground beef, raisins, nuts, prunes, and fruit juices. For Christmas dinner on December 24, a baked leg of pork is also prepared, marinated in dry red chile that is a bit spicy, accompanied by a fresh cabbage and carrot salad.

An essential item on the stove or the wood burner is the pot with meat tamales with a mixture of chili, potato, green olives, and others with salted corn, slices of tatemado green chilies and cooked cheese from the region. It is customary in Sonora to eat tamales wrapped in a corn husk; the most popular are beef and pork. A typical Sonoran Christmas dinner would not be the same without the frijoles puercos prepared over firewood in an iron skillet with lard, red chili adobo (marinade) and chorizo.

On December 25, during the visit to the relatives or recalentado (reheated), it is customary to prepare white menudo with beef tripe, hominy, chopped cilantro and white onion, seasoned with dry ground chiltepin, oregano and accompanied with birote bread (roll) with butter. For dessert, buñuelos (fritters), made with the same dough as flour tortillas, are fried and accompanied with a warm spiced piloncillo honey.


Sonoran Pork Beans
Serves 4

2 cans Pinto Beans
15 oz or 1/2 bag Queso Chihuahua (the Mexican melting cheese)
1 stick Pork Chorizo
1/2 cup Pork Lard
2 cans Ranchera Sauce (any brand)
1 pinch Salt
1 pinch pepper


Heat a small-size pan.

Prepare the chorizo. Cook it for 3/4 of the time. The rest will be cooked during the next steps. Open the bean and salsa ranchera cans and the cheese bag.

Heat a large pan and melt the lard in low heat.

Blend the beans using medium speed. Drain one can keep the water on the other.

Pour in the salsa ranchera and mix well.

Place the mixture in the pan with the melted lard. Raise to medium heat.

Add the chorizo and mix until you get a small visible spiral. Then, add the cheese. Don’t stop until the cheese dissolves into the beans. Next, add salt and pepper.

Serve with flour tortillas.

Sonoran Cabbage & Carrot Salad
Serves 4

3/4 of a finely chopped medium cabbage
2 carrots, peeled and grated
5 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons Mexican cream
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 pinch salt


Mix the cabbage, carrot, mayonnaise, and Mexican cream in a bowl.

Season with sugar and salt.

Serve in a salad bowl.