Navajo Tacos

Navajo Tacos are a beloved Southwestern dish that combines the deliciousness of fry bread with savory or sweet toppings. This versatile dish can be customized to suit different tastes, making it a favorite among families and food enthusiasts alike. Whether you prefer the savory flavors of seasoned ground beef and beans or the sweetness of honey and powdered sugar, Navajo Tacos offer a delightful culinary experience.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter or ghee
  • 1 ¼ cup whole milk
  • 3 cups vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 lb ground beef 80/20
  • 2 tbsp Steak fajita seasoning or Homemade Taco Seasoning
  • 15 oz black beans, drained
  • 2 cups iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 3 plum tomatoes, diced
  • Sour cream
  • Queso sauce or shredded cheese of choice
  • Honey
  • Powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Make the Dough: In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and softened butter until the mixture is crumbly. Create a well in the center and pour in the milk. Knead the ingredients together until a soft dough forms. Cover the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  2. Form Dough: After the dough has rested, roll it into a log shape. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Flatten each ball into a 6-inch circle and prick them with a fork.
  3. Fry: Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan to 350°F. Fry each dough circle for about 30 seconds on one side, then flip and fold them into taco shell shapes. Continue frying until the fry bread turns golden brown.
  4. Prepare Toppings: For savory tacos, brown the ground beef in a pan with steak fajita seasoning or homemade taco seasoning. Prepare the other toppings such as shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, drained black beans, sour cream, and shredded cheese or queso sauce.
  5. Assemble Tacos: Fill each fry bread taco shell with the cooked ground beef, black beans, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and cheese for savory tacos. For sweet versions, drizzle honey and dust powdered sugar over the fry bread.

Tips:

  • Fry bread can be served flat and topped with sweet ingredients for a dessert option or stacked and filled with savory toppings for a meal.
  • Experiment with different toppings and seasonings to create your own unique Navajo Tacos tailored to your preferences.
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Conclusion:

Navajo Tacos offer a delightful fusion of flavors and textures, combining the crispiness of fry bread with savory or sweet toppings. Whether you enjoy them as a hearty meal or a delicious dessert, Navajo Tacos are sure to become a favorite in your culinary repertoire. With simple ingredients and easy-to-follow directions, you can create a memorable dining experience for friends and family with these versatile and customizable tacos.

  1. Can I make the fry bread dough ahead of time and refrigerate it for later use?
  • Yes, you can prepare the fry bread dough ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. After kneading the dough and allowing it to rest, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container before refrigerating. When you’re ready to use it, allow the dough to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before rolling it out and frying it.
  1. Can I use a different type of oil for frying the fry bread?
  • While vegetable oil is commonly used for frying fry bread due to its high smoke point and neutral flavor, you can experiment with other oils like canola oil or peanut oil. Keep in mind that different oils may impart slightly different flavors to the fry bread, so choose one that complements the overall taste of your dish. Ensure that the oil reaches the recommended frying temperature of 350°F for best results.
  1. Are there any alternatives to ground beef for the savory topping?
  • Absolutely! Navajo Tacos are highly customizable, and you can substitute ground beef with other protein options such as ground turkey, shredded chicken, or even vegetarian alternatives like tofu or tempeh crumbles. Be sure to season your chosen protein with your preferred spices or seasonings to enhance its flavor and complement the other toppings.
  1. Can I make the fry bread without frying it for a healthier option?
  • While frying the dough is traditional and results in the characteristic crispy texture of fry bread, you can opt for a healthier alternative by baking the dough instead. Preheat your oven to 375°F, place the rolled-out dough circles on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake for about 10-12 minutes or until they turn golden brown. Keep in mind that baked fry bread may have a slightly different texture compared to the fried version, but it’s a great option for those looking to reduce their oil intake.
  1. How can I store leftover fry bread and toppings?
  • If you have any leftover fry bread, allow it to cool completely before storing it in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag at room temperature. The fry bread can be stored for up to 2-3 days, but it’s best enjoyed fresh. As for the toppings, store any unused cooked ground beef, beans, and vegetables in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. When reheating the toppings, ensure they reach an internal temperature of 165°F for food safety.
  1. Can I make the fry bread dough gluten-free?
  • Yes, you can substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend to make the fry bread dough gluten-free. Ensure that the gluten-free flour blend contains a binding agent such as xanthan gum to help the dough hold together. Keep in mind that the texture and flavor of the fry bread may vary slightly with gluten-free flour, so you may need to adjust the amount of liquid or flour to achieve the desired consistency.
  1. Can I freeze the fry bread dough for future use?
  • Yes, you can freeze the fry bread dough for later use. After kneading the dough and allowing it to rest, divide it into individual portions and wrap each portion tightly in plastic wrap. Place the wrapped portions in a resealable freezer bag, remove any excess air, and label it with the date. The dough can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to use it, thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator before rolling it out and frying as directed.
  1. What are some creative topping ideas for Navajo Tacos?
  • While the classic toppings for Navajo Tacos include ground beef, beans, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and cheese, you can get creative with your toppings to suit your taste preferences. Consider adding sliced avocado, pickled jalapeños, diced onions, salsa, guacamole, or even fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley for extra flavor and texture. Don’t be afraid to mix and match different toppings to create your own unique spin on this traditional dish!
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