Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Deadly Navajo Taco

This my friends, is a genuine Monument Valley Gouldings Lodge Navajo taco.

Kman and I had these on our trip way out west last spring. I will only say this in reference to the word "deadly" in my blog title - be sure to pop back a few little green GasEx capsules BEFORE partaking of Navajo tacos and getting back into a car with loved ones. They will be forever grateful. Trust me on this one. We DID NOT preload with GasEx, so I speak from true experience.

Hey, even Cowgirls sing the (gas) blues occasionally.

How to describe Navajo fry bread...hmmm...if you've ever had sopapillas at a Mexican food restaurant the taste is similar. Crispy, yet melt in your mouth tender.

The following is a traditional fry bread recipe:

4 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon powdered milk
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 cup warm water

Sift together the flour, salt, powdered milk, and baking powder into a large bowl. Gently pour the water over the flour mixture all at once and stir the dough with a fork until it starts to form one big ball.

Flour your hands. Using your hands, begin to mix the dough, incorporating all the flour well into your dough ball. NOTE: You want to mix this well, but you do NOT want to knead it. Over kneading it will break down the dough and your fry bread will be heavy and tough. The inside of the dough ball should still be sticky after it is formed, while the outside will be well floured. Cover and let rest in a warm place for about 45 minutes.

When ready, divide and shape it into small balls about the size of a peach. Using floured hands, shape, stretch, pat, and form a disk of about 7 or 8 inches in diameter. Don't worry about making it perfectly round. Then, make a small slit in the center of each.

I prefer to fry mine in Crisco vegetable shortening, but you can fry them in vegetable oil if shortening ain't your thing...Heat the vegetable oil or shortening to about 350 degrees F. NOTE: You can check by either dropping a small piece of dough in the hot oil and seeing if it begins to fry, or by dipping the end of a wooden spoon in and seeing if that bubbles. Your oil should be about 1-inch deep in a large cast-iron skillet or other large fryer.

Take the formed dough and gently place it into the oil, being careful not to splatter the hot oil. Gently press down on the dough with a wooden spoon as it fries so the top is submersed into the hot oil. The dough will begin to puff and bubble. Fry until brown, and then flip to fry the other side. Each side will take about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove to a warmed platter and drain on paper towels.

Indian Fry Bread can be kept warm in a 200 degree F. oven for up to 1 hour. They refrigerate well and can be reheated in a 350 degree F. oven for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

After preparing your fry bread, you're ready to assemble the taco! The Gouldings Lodge Navajo tacos were simply layered with heated canned chili, shredded Longhorn cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, (add the cheese directly on top of the hot chili to melt nice and gooey for that important stringy-ness with each forkful), Ranch-Style beans, shredded iceberg lettuce, chopped fresh tomatoes and homemade salsa on the side. Fresh pico de gallo is a great condiment for anything, and especially good with Navajo tacos.

Using the fry bread as your base, you could create all sorts of variations on the simple taco. Try adding roasted hatch chilis, or freshly made guacamole, maybe a big dollop of sour cream? Replacing the canned chili with homemade chili would be terrific, too.

I am not sure if it was the ambiance of being in Monument Valley with the gorgeous scenery as a backdrop, but these Navajo tacos were...wait for it... MONUMENTAL!

Remember to click photo to en-biggen it ;-)


Joared said...

Now here's a recipe I want to keep. Yes! I do like sopapillas. Thanks! This is a spectacular view of Monument Valley, too.

Ah, fry bread! I remember years ago sitting in the Scottsdale, AZ sparsely filled stands with my young daughter, among the few who like us were not Indian, as we observed the Pow Wow with competitive costume dancing on the grounds in front of us. Stands with fry bread were prevalent along with other specialties.

BTW I understand Crisco has changed their product taking out saturated fats which has caused a lot of old traditional recipes to not work as well. Wonder if you or anyone else has encountered that as a problem?

Whisky Prajer said...

Hm. Suddenly my morning toast with boiled egg seems rather paltry and ... bland.