Thursday, June 28, 2012

Navajo Tacos (Fry Bread) with Anasazi Beans

As a child, I lived in Monument Valley for a few years, situated on the Utah/Arizona border.  This fry bread recipe comes from that region.  My mom made it for us from time to time growing up and I just loved it.  I tried making it myself, about 4-5 years ago, but it was before I had a blog and I never took any photos.  When my mom visited us a few months ago, she made them for us, and I just finally got around to making them myself, again, a few days ago, so I could take pics and finally put them up here. 

The dough is pretty easy to mix up.  My mom adds just a bit of shortening for some fat, although some recipes call for no fat.  It makes the dough more tender, though.  You roll them out to about 6 inches in diameter, and then fry them.  I tried to roll as thin as I could, because the dough puffs up a lot during the frying. 
We topped our Navajo Frybread with cooked Anasazi beans, available from Bob's Red Mill.  I got mine from  I just soaked them overnight and cooked them in the crockpot till tender.
My Dad is a very good photographer, and I want to share some photos he took of the Monument Valley area while we lived there.  I was only about 5 when we lived there, and I've always wanted to go back to visit- I have not been back since we moved away.  Top three pictures, below, are of the famous Monument Valley Mittens.  We could see some of these formations from the windows in our house!  The fourth (bottom) picture, is of an ancient Anasazi dwelling we visited while we lived in that area.  Recipe following all the pics.  :)

Navajo Tacos (Fry Bread) with Anasazi Beans
Frybread recipe from my Mom
I increase this recipe by 50% for my family

2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup instant dry milk powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons shortening
2/3 to 3/4 cup water
Canola or Vegetable oil for frying

1.  Mix dry ingredients; cut in shortening as for pastry with pastry cutter. Add water gradually, mixing to form a firm ball. Divide into 8-12 balls; let rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Roll or pat each ball into a 6 inch circle, rolling the dough thin. Poke a hole in center with your finger. Heat 1 inch oil in Dutch oven* to 350- 400 degrees. Slip each circle into oil; fry each side about 1 minute or until puffed and golden. Drain on paper towels.  Top with beans or chili, cheese, sour cream, tomatos, lettuce, etc., to make Navajo tacos.  (Bean recipe below). 
*(I used a small (about 8 inch) skillet so I'd use less oil and just fried one at a time.  I also didn't use a thermometer for my oil). 

Simple Anasazi Beans
by What a Dish!

2 cups dry Anasazi beans, sorted through (to remove any pebbles, etc) and rinsed
water, to cover
1/2- 1 teaspoon garlic salt, to taste
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1-2 teaspoons chicken bouillon base, such as Better than Bouillon or Trader Joe's

1.  After the beans are clean, place them in a glass, plastic, or ceramic bowl and cover with 1 inch of cold water.  Let soak overnight.
2.  The next morning, drain and rinse the beans.  Place in a slow cooker and cover with fresh water.  Cook on High for about 4 hours.  If the beans are pretty tender, switch slow cooker to low and cook a few more hours, or until very tender.  Drain (reserving some bean water) and return to slow cooker.  Stir in the garlic salt, tomato paste, chicken bouillon base, and a few spoonfuls of reserved bean water.  Beans should turn creamy.  Taste for salt and add more if needed. 

**This post and photos are property of **


Linda said...

Although I love all your blog posts, this is probably my very favorite, not only for the fry bread recipe (I got acquainted with those in Oklahoma) and beautiful beans, but also for the gorgeous pics of Monument Valley. That is my kind of country. How incredible to live there!

The Hulls said...

Ooh! I'm going to try this recipe. I remember having Navajo tacos at various community events when I was growing up in AZ. Thanks for sharing!

What a Dish! said...

Thanks, Linda! I found a bunch of my dad's old pics on my computer last night (my husband put them there a while ago), and spent hours looking through them. It was hard to just choose these 4 to share.

Cami, I hope you like them if you try them! :)

Holly said...

My sister told me about this blog, so I had to check it out. I am your cousin Holly, and I love all of your recipes. I need some new stuff, so I will visit regularly. I hope you are doing well! Sorry, I do not facebook, but Melissa does!

What a Dish! said...

Holly, it's so good to see you here- hope you are doing well too. I'm glad you like it! Hope you are able to find some good stuff.