February 20, 2011

Indian Tacos + Dessert Frybread

Navajo Frybread can be eaten lots of ways.  It's great just spread with butter, or served along with stew or chili (it's great for soaking up the liquid from the bowl).   It also makes a great dessert.   Just sprinkle it with a bit of powdered sugar and cinnamon, then drizzle it with honey.

One of the most basic uses, though, is to top it with spiced meat and/or beans, cheese, tomatoes and other toppings to make an Indian Taco.   Although thicker than a typical taco shell or tortilla, frybread works great for this purpose.   In fact, because it's thicker, it can hold a lot more in the way of toppings without falling apart, and makes for a more hearty and satisfying taco.   One of these tacos is enough for a meal. 

There are a lot of different recipes for Indian Tacos.  Some are little more than typical ground-beef taco meat dumped atop a hunk of frybread.  Others involve large enough meat chunks that they resemble a stew or chili more than a taco.    Many of them, including my version below, include beans along with the meat.   In addition to the meat topping and cheese, tomatoes and sour cream are common toppings.  Lettuce is not as commonly included in Indian Tacos as in the Tex-Mex versions, though we did include it on ours.  Salsa, chopped onions, sliced or fried chili peppers and chopped cilantro are other common toppings. 

It should be noted that one batch of our Navajo Frybread recipe makes six pieces of frybread, which is enough to serve Indian Tacos for four, including dessert.   Four pieces of the Navajo Frybread are used to make four Indian Tacos, while the other two can be topped with sugar, cinnamon and honey and halved to make dessert for four.

Indian Tacos

yield = 4 servings

1        pound lean (90%) ground beef
1        small onion, finely-chopped
1        jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1        teaspoon minced garlic
2        teaspoons chili powder
1        teaspoon ground cumin
1/2     teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1        can (15-ounce) chili beans
1/2     teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/2     teaspoon table salt
4        pieces Navajo Frybread
1        cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1        cup chopped leaf or iceberg lettuce
2        tomatoes, chopped
1/4     cup sour cream
          salsa, chilis, chopped cilantro or other garnishes
          of choice

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the ground beef and cook, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat, until it is about half-browned.  Add the onion and jalapeno and cook until the meat is completely browned. 

Add garlic, chili powder, cumin and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Stir in chili beans, pepper and salt.  Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bean liquid has thickened.

Top each piece of frybread with 1/4 cup of cheese and 1/4 of the beef mixture, then serve.  Each person can add tomatoes, lettuce and sour cream to taste. 

Dessert Frybread

yield = 4 servings

2          pieces Navajo Frybread
1          tablespoon powdered sugar
1/4       teaspoon ground cinnamon
            honey (to taste)

Sprinkle each piece of Navajo Frybread evenly with sugar and cinnamon.  Slice each piece of frybread into two servings and serve with honey so each person can drizzle on honey to taste.

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