Navajo Vegetarian Tacos

From May 2, 2009:  Made this for dinner tonight.  Complete comfort food.  I had a similar dish at Spirits on the River in Asheville, NC.  The dish I made was super yummy.  My only complaint is that the fry bread absorbed sooo much oil.  I don’t fry food very often, so maybe my perception is skewed, but it certainly is not health food.  On the other hand, one taco is substancial and you don’t need side dishes or even seconds.  This dish is best eaten with a knife and fork. My hubby said it was a pain in the a** to eat, but most civilized people wouldn’t have the same complaint. 🙂 I think the word “taco” threw him off….he was thinking hand-held food.  I now want to find a healthier/lower fat fry bread recipe to make this again. Wondering how Naan bread would work? 

Navajo Vegetarian Tacos

For the fry bread
3 cups unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup shortning
3/4 cup water
oil for frying (about 1 1/2 cups)

For the tacos
cooked pinto beans (canned or homemade), heated
1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
fresh diced tomatoes
1 white onion, diced small
shredded cheese (cheddar, monterrey jack, or pepper jack)
hot sauce (I like Texas Pete)

To make the fry bread, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Add the shortening and work into the flour mixture with your hands until fully incorporated.  Add water and stir until just combined.  Work the dough with your hands until it comes together.  Divide into 8 equal parts.  Roll each section out (fairly thin) into a circle.

In a large skillet, add enough oil to be 1 inch deep. Heat over medium heat until oil is hot. Carefully slip fry bread, one at a time, into the hot oil and fry until lightly browned, about 45 seconds.  Gently turn the fry bread and fry the other side, about 30 seconds.  Remove to drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining dough.

To assemble tacos, place one fry bread on a plate and top with a large spoonful of well-drained pinto beans.  Sprinkle with shredded cheese, chopped onions and tomatoes, and shredded lettuce.  Serve with a bottle of hot sauce on the table.

Serves 8

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