Navajo Fry Bread
Total TimePrep: 20 min. Cook: 15 min.
Makes12 fry breads
- FRY BREAD:
- 2 cups unbleached flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 4-1/2 teaspoons shortening
- 2/3 to 3/4 cup water
- Oil for deep-fat frying
- TACO FILLING:
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Pepper to taste
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) Ranch Style beans (pinto beans in seasoned tomato sauce)
- 1 can (4 ounces) diced green chilies
- 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- Shredded lettuce
- Mix dry ingredients; cut in shortening as for pastry. Add water gradually, mixing to form a firm ball. Divide into 12 balls; let rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Roll each ball into 6-in. circle. Cut 1/2-in.-diameter hole in center of each circle.
- Heat 1 in. oil in Dutch oven to 400°. Slip each circle into oil; fry each side for 1 minute or until puffed and golden. Drain; serve warm with butter, honey and fresh lemon juice.
- To make taco, cook the beef, onion and seasonings over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in beans; cook 5 minutes. Place fry bread on a baking pan; spread each bread with 1/2 cup taco mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and chilies.
- Bake at 350° until cheese is melted. Serve with lettuce, tomato and salsa.
Mar 12, 2014
This is a fairly great representative recipe of a Navajo Taco, although even among Navajos there are variations. I live/work on the Navajo reservation and am married to a Navajo. My mother-in-law (who makes the BEST fry bread) does not use powdered milk. She slow-cooks dry pinto beans all day, adding a can of green chilies, about a pound of browned ground beef, and a can of Hormel chili (no beans). And the type of flour is key! Trust me! Blue Bird flour all the way. (But if you don't live where Blue Bird if sold, try a generic store brand.) She also uses a higher ratio of lard (yes, lard, not shortening) in her recipe. Which brings me to a final thought...as with many creations passed down from one generation to the next, the dough is made with handfuls, scoops, and pinches, not measurements. And when it's time to shape the dough, it's done by hand--pinching off a section of dough, rolling, stretching, shaping--never a rolling pin (unless you're me). We don't put a hole in the middle before frying. When the fry bread is ready, top it with layers of the bean/meat mixture, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese, and onions! No baking required. Serve with a fork and knife. Yum! But again, for non-natives to recreate at home: good job!
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