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Road 66 Road Trip
Many years ago, my husband and I took a road trip that mostly included traveling on the Historic Route 66 through Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. We veered off the Route to get to Grand Canyon National Park, which was absolutely awe inspiring.
We had an outstanding meal at a restaurant close to the park, which is one of my favorite memories. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but boy do I remember the meal! It was a Navajo Taco, and it was enormous!!
The Navajo Taco
An Arizona Republic newspaper poll in 1995 voted the Navajo Taco the State Dish of Arizona. The taco ingredients sit on top of an Indian Fry Bread, which has some very sad history behind it.
History Behind the Indian Fry Bread
The Navajo were forced to resettle in the 1800s. The government gave them rations of flour, water, baking powder, salt, and lard, and the genesis of the fry bread came from these rations. The Navajo were forced to go on “Long Walks” of 300 miles to the resettlement, and many died on the way. Steeped in history, it is easy to understand how precious this fry bread is to the Navajo.
New Mexico Roadside (Delicious!) Authentic Fry Bread
Recently we drove through New Mexico, and I was so excited to see a sign for fry bread! New Mexico is also well known for fry bread, and we drove over to a small Indian Arts Center that sells pottery and also fry bread. This time Toby was with us, and he was able to enjoy some of the fry bread as well. 🙂 I tried to get the recipe from the lovely lady at the shop, but all she told me was that everyone’s fry bread will be different according to the love and care with which they make it. Her fry bread was delicious. 🙂
The Indian Fry Bread is also one of the 1,000 Foods to Eat listed in the book 1,000 Foods To Eat Before You Die, by Mimi Sheraton. My project is to eat each of the 1,000 foods, and this is #7 on my list.
For a list of the foods tried so far, please visit my 1,000 Foods to Eat Project page.
Toby absolutely LOVED the fry bread! Please be sure to look out for and sample authentic Indian Fry Bread when in New Mexico. Until then, try this recipe to get a taste of the Land of Enchantment!
Navajo Taco With Indian Fry Bread
Navajo Taco Toppings
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 can pinto beans 15 oz
- 1 taco seasoning packet
- 6 oz shredded lettuce
- 1 tomatoes diced
- 8 oz cheddar cheese shredded
- jalapenos optional, for topping
- picante sauce optional, for topping
- sour cream optional, for topping
Fry Bread (makes 4 small fry breads; double the recipe for 8 small fry breads or 4 large fry breads)
- 1 cup all purpose flour (+ extra flour to put on your hands to minimize stickiness!)
- 2 ts baking powder
- 1/2 ts salt
- 1/3 cup warm water
- shortening or vegetable oil
- Brown your ground beef in a heavy skillet. Drain excess oil. Add packet of taco seasoning, and drained pinto beans and mix well. Add a little water if necessary to keep from drying out. Keep covered on a low setting until ready to use.
- Fry Bread: Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add water, and lightly knead (with floured hands). Split the dough into 4 equal size portions (or 8 if you are doubling the recipe and desire 8 small fry breads)
- Roll out the dough (best to use a rolling pin) on a lightly floured board. Aim for the thickness of the dough to be around 1/4″. Cut a small hole into the center of the pieces of dough.
- Use preferably a cast iron pan to heat up the shortening, or a heavy skillet. The depth of your shortening or oil should be around 1.5 – 2 inches or so. Once the oil is hot enough (aim for around 350F), drop in your piece of dough and fry each side until golden grown. Place the fried bread onto a plate lined with paper towel, to absorb the excess oil.
- Once the fry bread is done, top them with the seasoned beef and pinto mean mixture. Add shredded romaine lettuce, diced tomato, and shredded cheddar cheese.