Navajo Tacos

navajo tacos
The first time I had Navajo tacos was at my sister’s wedding reception.  Her husband is Navajo Indian and they had a reception on the reservation he was from.  I was in cooking school at the time so Matt’s mom had me help her and a few women make the food for the reception.
Frybread was of course served and it was so good.

I love the story Matt shared on his blog about wanting his mom to teach his wife how to make frybread and she instead made him learn. 🙂
navajo tacos2
These are basically big, soft, thick tortillas served with taco type toppings.  You can get creative with what you like to serve them with, or just eat them plain. 🙂  They are really good with Posole as well.
And they’re even better made as a family, and young kids can even roll out the dough easily themselves.

NAVAJO TACOS

FRYBREAD:
3 cups flour
1 T baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 T powdered milk
about 1 1/2 cups warm water
Oil or lard for frying

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Add 1 cup of water, then more as needed until it comes together, mixing with a wooden spoon or your hands.
If the dough seems too wet, add more flour.  If it seems too dry, add more warm water.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap or tea towel and rest for 20 minutes.
(It won’t rise, so don’t worry if it looks the same).
Heat a couple inches of oil or lard in a cast iron skillet or heavy pan over medium high heat.
Cut dough into 8 pieces (you can make them smaller if desired as well, even mini sized frybreads).
Roll each piece into a ball then use a rolling pin to roll out.
(we like ours a little thicker than 1/4″ thick, but some people like them thinner.  Try both ways to see what you like).
Fry until golden brown, then flip and continue cooking until golden brown on second side.  Sometimes the middle bubbles up, I just use my tongs to push the middle down.  Place warm frybreads on paper towels or on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and keep covered with a tea towel to keep warm.

TOPPINGS:
Ground beef or turkey
Pinto beans or refried beans
Seasonings (We like to use a little garlic salt)
Grated cheddar cheese or monterey jack
Lettuce, shredded
Tomatoes, diced
Green onions, sliced thinly
Avocados, sliced
Sour cream
Lime Wedges
Cilantro leaves

Cook ground beef or turkey and mix with beans and seasonings of choice.  (Whatever you like to use for taco seasoning is fine).
Serve along with remaining toppings and the frybread.

Recipe slightly adapted from my brother in law, Matt

Navajo Tacos

Ingredients

    For Frybread dough:
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 T powdered milk
  • about 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • Oil or lard for frying
    TOPPINGS:
  • Ground beef or turkey
  • Pinto beans or refried beans
  • Seasonings (We like to use a little garlic salt)
  • Grated cheddar cheese or monterey jack
  • Lettuce, shredded
  • Tomatoes, diced
  • Green onions, sliced thinly
  • Avocados, sliced
  • Sour cream
  • Lime Wedges
  • Cilantro leaves

Instructions

Make the frybread:
  • Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add 1 cup of water, then more as needed until it comes together, mixing with a wooden spoon or your hands.
  • If the dough seems too wet, add more flour. If it seems too dry, add more warm water.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap or tea towel and rest for 20 minutes.
  • (It won't rise, so don't worry if it looks the same).
  • Heat a couple inches of oil or lard in a cast iron skillet or heavy pan over medium high heat.
  • Cut dough into 8 pieces (you can make them smaller if desired as well, even mini sized frybreads).
  • Roll each piece into a ball then use a rolling pin to roll out.
  • (we like ours a little thicker than 1/4" thick, but some people like them thinner. Try both ways to see what you like).
  • Fry until golden brown, then flip and continue cooking until golden brown on second side. Sometimes the middle bubbles up, I just use my tongs to push the middle down. Place warm frybreads on paper towels or on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and keep covered with a tea towel to keep warm.
  • Prepare toppings:
  • Cook ground beef or turkey and mix with beans and seasonings of choice. (Whatever you like to use for taco seasoning is fine).
  • Serve along with remaining toppings and the frybread.
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    Chicken Tacos


    I promise, this is the last Mexican recipe I’ll share.. for awhile anyways ; )
    I went through a little bit of a phase trying to figure out how to make our favorite Mexican food at home.  My hubby really loves Mexican food so it’s nice to be able to make his favorites for him at home now.  These are so easy to make, and are a great use of leftover shredded chicken, especially if you have some roasted salsa in the fridge.  We like them served on the really small tortillas, like they are at the taco truck, but you could of course use bigger ones as well.  And don’t forget the fresh lime.  Tacos just aren’t  the same without it : )

    CHICKEN TACOS

    Chicken breast, cooked and shredded
    Roasted red salsa
    Small corn tortillas, warm
    Radishes, sliced thinly
    Chopped white onion
    Cilantro leaves
    Lime wedges
    Roasted Salsa Verde 

    Toss chicken with salsa in a pan over medium heat until warmed through.
    Put in tortillas and top with radishes, onion, and cilantro.  Squeeze fresh lime over the top and serve the salsa verde on the side.

    Homemade Chorizo


    Have you ever had chorizo?  If you have, then you may have wondered when you were eating it… what exactly is in here?  Well, have no fear, friends.  Now you can make your own.
    My hubby loves chorizo but it’s usually too spicy.. or suspicious..so we never buy it.
    I think this has just the right amount of heat, but you can of course add more chili powder if you disagree.  I use chorizo for tacos, stuffing empanadas, burritos.. or if I leave it on the counter and walk away my hubby will take care of it with a spoon. : )

    HOMEMADE CHORIZO
    1 lb ground pork
    2 tsp garlic powder
    1 T smoked paprika
    2 tsp cumin
    1/4 tsp chili powder
    1 tsp kosher salt
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    2 T white vinegar

    Mix dry spices into meat until well mixed, then add vinegar and mix just until combined.

    Cook in a skillet over medium high heat, breaking up with a wooden spoon as it cooks.  I like to cook the chorizo with a diced white onion.  I add the onion when the meat is about halfway done.

    Watermelon Agua Fresca


    “Agua Fresca” is basically just a term for flavored water, and falls in the same category as Horchata.  It’s a great cooling drink served with spicy food, and I think would be a fun twist on the usual watermelon served at a Fourth of July BBQ.
    We love it because it’s slightly sweet but incredibly refreshing, so it goes great with grilled food too.

    WATERMELON AGUA FRESCA

    8 cups watermelon chunks (seedless, or make sure there are no seeds in your chunks)
    1 cup water
    2-4 T honey or sugar (depending on how sweet your melon is)
    1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
    1 tsp kosher salt

    Puree the watermelon and water, either in a blender, food processor, or a stick blender. (work in batches if necessary).
    Push through a fine mesh sieve to get completely smooth.
    Mix in the remaining ingredients until well combined.
    Serve over ice with lime wedges, if desired.

    Carna Asada Tacos


    My hubby has a new hobby.  Well, okay, it’s not that new.  I’ll give you the scenario.  He tries something at at restaurant (or in this case, at the taco truck) that he likes, then asks me if I could make that.  Lucky for him, I like a challenge.
    Especially if it’s something I like too. : )
    I have to say, I think these turned out even better than the taco trucks.  I’ve seen lots of recipes for carna asada tacos, but usually they have a lengthy marinate recipe that includes things like soy sauce.  I knew the tacos we’ve had and loved were dressed much more simply than that, but a marinade was still a good idea, but needed to be a simple one.  Here’s the best tips I came up:
    1. Use “skirt steak” not “carna asada meat”.  Carna asada meat is usually the end cuts off a few cuts of meat, and while it is cheaper, you won’t be able to trim it properly and will probably have more gristle and such.
    2. Cut steak into a couple pieces so it will fit better in pan you have chosen to cook in.  Crowding the pan causes the temperature to drop and your steak will steam instead of sear.
    3.  Use a large griddle or heavy cast iron pan to cook steak.  While grills are great, for this you really want a good sear on the whole surface of the steak.
    4.  If your steak isn’t searing as good, try a little trick: sprinkle just a little bit of sugar on the surface of the steak, this will caramelize and help sear.

    CARNA ASADA TACOS

    For Steak:
    1 1/2 to 2 lbs skirt steak
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    1 tsp kosher salt
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    1/4 cup fresh lime juice
    1/4 cup olive oil

    To Serve:
    Small corn tortillas, warmed on a dry skillet
    white onion, diced
    Cilantro
    Radishes, sliced thinly
    Lime wedges
    Roasted Salsa Verde

    Skirt steak usually comes in long strips.  Cut into a couple pieces and trim any excess fat off.  Put in a bowl with remaining ingredients and rub marinate into steak, turning a few times to make sure it’s coated well.
    Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or ideally 6 to 8 hours.


    Get either a griddle or heavy pan hot over medium high heat. (Cast iron works well).
    Drizzle a small amount of oil on pan, and when hot, remove steak from marinade and cook until well seared, then flip and cook until well seared on second side.
    (Cook in batches if needed, don’t crowd the pan).
    Let rest for a few minutes on a board, then chop.
    If desired, put back on the hot pan and sear for a couple more minutes.
    To serve, put in small corn tortillas with radishes, cilantro, onion, roasted salsa verde, and lime wedges.

    Roasted Salsas

    While I love a simple Pico de Gallo , I have recently discover what roasted salsas can do to simple tacos or other Mexican dishes.  They add a great layer of flavor you just don’t get otherwise, and are my new favorite things to serve with Mexican food.  Wether we’re having tacos, enchiladas, or even just for dips, I love em.  And they’re simple enough I can make both in no time.

     

    ROASTED SALSA VERDE
    5 to 6 tomatillos, about 1/2 lb
    1/2 to 1 jalapeno (depending on how much heat you want)
    3 cloves garlic, crushed
    1/2 cup cilantro
    1 T lime juice
    salt, to taste


    Adjust oven rack to about 6 inches from heating element and heat broiler.
    Peel husks off tomatillos and rinse off.  (It’s normal for them to have a little sticky residue.)
    Cut in half, then put cut side down on a large baking sheet.  Remove seeds from jalapeno and place on baking sheet along with garlic.
    Broil for 5-7 minutes or until well charred.  Let cool for a few minutes.

    Put everything into the bowl of a food processor (you could also use a blender if you don’t have a food processor), and pulse a few times until chopped up.  Add lime juice, cilantro, and salt.  Pulse again until well mixed.  Taste and adjust salt if needed.

    ROASTED RED SALSA

    3 tomatoes, about 1 1/2 lbs
    4 cloves garlic, crushed
    1/2 cup chopped white onion
    1/2 to 1 jalapeno, seeded and cut in quarters
    drizzle olive oil
    1/2 cup cilantro leaves
    2-4 T lime juice
    salt to taste

    Quarter tomatoes, and place on a large baking sheet, along with onion, garlic, and jalapeno.  Drizzle with oil and toss to coat.
    Broil for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Set aside to cool briefly.

    Put everything in the bowl of a food processor (or blender) and pulse to chop.  Add cilantro, lime juice, and salt and pulse again until well combined.

    Carrie’s Tacos


    My good friend Carrie grew up eating Mexican food, unlike me, and can cook some seriously good tacos.  One day she brought all the fixings over to my house and cooked my family a big taco feast.
    They are now one of our favorite meals and I suspect they will be what my hubby requests for his birthday dinner!
    They are fun to make as a family and also with friends, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t hear any complaints!
    Carrie is serving in Afghanistan right now, so I’m really looking forward to her getting back home and cooking for her!

    CARRIE’S TACOS
    Corn tortillas
    oil for frying
    shredded cheese, (a mexican blend or cheddar and Monterey jack)
    chopped tomatoes
    chopped onions
    shredded lettuce
    cilantro
    ground beef (cooked with a little taco seasoning or garlic salt)
    refried beans
    green taco sauce
    salsa
    sour cream
    guacamole

    Put about 1/2 an inch of olive or canola oil in a pan and heat over medium high heat.  When hot, cook the tortillas a few seconds on each side.  You want to soften them, not make them too crispy.
    As each tortilla is cooked, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and blot off any excess oil.  (This is a good time to have a helper, it will go faster.)

    Put a little cheese on the tortillas and fold in half.


    Put on a baking sheet as you go, keeping warm in a 200 degree oven.
    Repeat with remaining tortillas.
    When ready to eat, open your tortillas and the cheese should be melted

    Pile on toppings of your choice, repeat, and enjoy!


    Recipe Source: my friend Carrie

    Carrie’s Tacos

    Ingredients

    • Corn tortillas
    • oil for frying
    • shredded cheese, (a mexican blend or cheddar and Monterey jack)
    • chopped tomatoes
    • chopped onions
    • shredded lettuce
    • cilantro
    • ground beef (cooked with a little taco seasoning or garlic salt)
    • refried beans
    • green taco sauce
    • salsa
    • sour cream
    • guacamole

    Instructions

  • Put about 1/2 an inch of olive or canola oil in a pan and heat over medium high heat. When hot, cook the tortillas a few seconds on each side. You want to soften them, not make them too crispy.
  • As each tortilla is cooked, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and blot off any excess oil. (This is a good time to have a helper, it will go faster.)
  • Put a little cheese on the tortillas and fold in half.
  • Put on a baking sheet as you go, keeping warm in a 200 degree oven.
  • Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  • When ready to eat, open your tortillas and the cheese should be melted
  • Pile on toppings of your choice, repeat, and enjoy!
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    Guacamole


    My hubby hates avocados.  And you know what?  That’s just fine.  More for me. : )
    A few friends have asked for this recipe, and I realized that while this is super simple- it really is the simplest of things people want to make well.  Because that’s what we eat 99% of the time, if not more.
    I serve this as an appetizer with salsa and tortilla chips, or with tacos, or you can even spread it on sandwiches.

    GUACAMOLE
    avocados, mashed
    lime juice, a drizzle for each avocado
    garlic salt, to taste
    salsa (I always make my homemade), I add 1-2 T per avocado

    Mix everything together, serve immediately.

    Matt’s Layered Chip Dip


    This recipe comes from my brother-in-law, Matt, and is a great appetizer.
    You can make it earlier in the day and store in the fridge until you need it.
    I like to put in 2 smaller dishes instead of a 9 by13 pan, so I can keep one in the fridge and pull it out when the first is getting low.
    Maybe I’ll pry Matt’s Navajo Taco recipe from him to share as well.
    He’s pretty famous for them!

    MATT’S LAYERED CHIP DIP
    1 1/2 cups homemade refried beans (or 1 can)
    1 cup salsa
    4 avocados
    lime juice
    3/4 cup mayonnaise
    3/4 cup sour cream
    2 tsp taco seasoning
    4 cups shredded lettuce
    1 cup sliced black olives
    2 cups chopped tomatoes
    1/2 cup sliced green onions

    Mix refried beans together with the salsa and spread in a 9 by 13 pan.
    Mash avocados with a drizzle of lime juice, layer on top of the beans.
    Mix the mayo, sour cream, and taco seasoning together and layer on top of the avocados.
    Top with the lettuce, then olives, then tomatoes, then green onions.
    Serve with tortilla chips.

    Recipe slightly adapted from my brother-in-law Matt

    Whole Wheat Tortillas


    I had planned on sharing all kinds of Mexican recipes with you all last week, for Cinco de Mayo.  Well… I shared about 4 anyways. : )
    I usually buy my tortillas for convenience, but I am kind of shocked at how much more expensive whole wheat ones are last time I checked.
    So, I decided to make my own, of course!
    Tortillas are really easy to make, especially if you have a tortilla press.
    And if you have kids, pressing the tortilllas is something mine usually love to do.
    Just remember to plan ahead and make your dough in the morning, since these are almost completely whole wheat it really helps if the dough has a full 8 hours to rest.  If you don’t, they’ll still be okay, you just won’t be able to roll them as thin.

    WHOLE WHEAT TORTILLAS

    1 cup white flour
    4 cups whole wheat flour
    1/2 cup plus 2 T shortening
    2 tsp salt
    1 3/4 cups boiling water

    Mix the flours and salt together in a bowl, then use your fingers to rub in the shortening.  Make a well in the center and pour in the water.
    Use a fork to mix well.  Knead to a smooth dough, sprinkle with a little extra flour if needed.  Divide into 24 balls, place on a tray and cover with a tea towel.  Let rest for at least a couple of hours, up to 8.
    Either roll out the balls to desired thickness, or use a tortilla press.


    (I line mine with a cut open gallon Ziplock bag)
    Cook on a dry skillet or griddle without oil until golden and cooked through.  If your tortillas are hard to roll or press, try letting the dough rest longer.
    Makes 24 tortillas.

    Recipe adapted from Shelf Reliance

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