Yum Peaceful Cooking: Navajo Tacos

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Navajo Tacos

Navajo Tacos. Say what?

Say....mmmmmm. This is one amazing dish! What we have here is a great infusion. Navajo Fry Bread topped with New Mexico Green Chile Stew.

Now don't go thinking you can pick this baby up with your hands and eat it like a traditional taco. Unless you're into totally messy food! Not that there isn't great totally messy foods to do that with (burgers, burritos, traditional tacos) but I think you'd probably end up with most of that stew back on the plate. At best. Just get out your fork and knife and go to town on this baby. And use that last bite of fry bread to sop up any juices that might be left over cuz seriously, you won't want to leave anything behind.

This is another great recipe from Megan Micozzi's (of ScarlettaBakes.com) cookbook, The New Southwest. If you missed it, I posted a recipe last week of hers, Mushroom and Leek Migas. At the time, my copy of the cookbook hadn't arrived yet. When I got home from work on Friday, I was thrilled to see the little (somewhat worn) package on the table. Apparently it went to the wrong address first. So I grabbed the book as I raced out the door, headed to my friends house. Once there, I curled up on her couch with a little sip of something (much needed at the end of a long week) and thoroughly browsed the lovely pages.

Gorgeous, hard cover...lots of amazing photos to make anyone drool...even if they aren't hungry.

I'm not sure exactly what made me choose Navajo Tacos. I think part of it had to do with the fry bread. I have 3 different American Indian tribes running through my blood yet I've never eaten American Indian food. Although Navajo is not among the three....I couldn't help but being pulled in.

So, I'm going to be sharing two recipes with you here. One for the Navajo Fry Bread and one for the New Mexico Green Chile Stew.

Important Note about the Navajo Fry Bread: Before I begin, I need to let you know that there is a type-o in the cookbook regarding the fry bread. Megan was contacted and it has been confirmed. The book lists 2 cups of water, which is incorrect. Please adjust the amount to 1/2 cup water.

Navajo Fry Bread
Printable Version

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting your hands
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 TB powdered milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup very warm water (corrected amount)
1 quart vegetable oil for frying

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Pour in the warm water (water should be as warm as possible but not so warm that you can't comfortably work with it). Using your hand, mix the water into the dry ingredients, moving in a circular motion until all of the dry ingredients have absorbed the water. This is a very dry dough. If you can't get the dough to come together, add a tiny bit more water...1 TB at a time. Be careful though, you don't want the dough to be too wet.

Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let rest for 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large pot to 350' F.

Pull off a plum sized piece of dough and using your hands, dusted with flour, flatten the dough into a disk, about 1/4" thick

Carefully place into the hot oil and fry for about 60-90 seconds per side, until puffy, crisp and cooked through. Place on a paper towel lined plate and continue with the remaining dough. This makes about 12 pieces of bread.

Now, for the New Mexico Green Chile Stew. I made two changes. One by choice. The other by necessity. Instead of using pork and beef stock, I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs and chicken stock. The other change was in the actual usage of chilies. I only had about 1 cup or so of Hatch chilies so I roasted some Anaheim chilies to fill the gap. Only apparently 12 Anaheim chilies do not yield 2 cups. So I added some canned diced green chilies of unknown kind. It was still amazingly delicious!

New Mexico Green Chili Stew
Printable Version

6 TB olive oil, divided
2 lbs boneless pork loin, cut into 2" cubes (I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 TB minced garlic
1/4 cup masa harina
3 cups beef broth (I used chicken broth)
1 TB ground cumin
1 TB ground coriander
1 tsp ground oregano, Mexican oregano if possible
3 cups Hatch green chilies, roasted, peeled, stemmed and *seeded (I used a combination of Hatch, Anaheim and canned)
Salt and pepper to taste

*if you like heat, leave the seeds in.

In a large, heavy bottomed pot such as a dutch oven or bean pot, heat 3 TB of olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches so that the meat is in a single layer, brown all sides of your meat. Remove from pot and set aside. Continue until you have all the meat browned.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions to the now empty pot. Cook until tender, caramelized and very fragrant, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Add in the minced garlic and stir for 2 minutes. Add the masa harina and the remaining 3 TB of olive oil, stirring together and cooking for an additional 2 minutes.

Stir in the broth, de-glazing the pan if necessary. Add the cumin, coriander, oregano, chilies and chicken. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 40 - 50 minutes. If you find that the pot is too hot for a simmer, pull the lid slightly to side to allow a crack for some of the heat to escape while cooking.

Stew is done when the meat is tender and the stew has thickened. It will thicken more as it cools. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I did add some salt but I didn't think it needed the pepper.

To serve, place Navajo Fry Bread on a place and top with the stew.

Garnish if desired. I used Queso Fresco. Avocados and cilantro would also be wonderful choices.

There are about 15 of us playing around in The New Southwest Cookbook so by all means, check them all out. You can find us all listed here:

Last week we all made the same thing...with some delicious variations. This week, we all got to choose what we wanted to make. Aaaaand....next week we'll be hosting a MEGA GIVEAWAY! Lots of copies of this gem being given to lots of lucky people.

This post is part of The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlightsponsored by Hippocrene and hosted at girlichef.


  1. I would give a leg for this right now. I mean, it's another of those things that looks so good it makes me want to cry. This just moved to the very top of my short list! Amazing Dani.

  2. I remember having Navajo fry bread when I lived in Arizona as a child. It was so good warm soon after being cooked by our neighbor. I try not to make too many things fried, but I might just have to make this, I know hubby would love it.
    Patti Taylor

  3. Yum! The fry bread on its own is amazing enough but with that stew on top it is even better. What a delicious meal! ;-)

  4. Oh my Danielle! That fry bread looks beyond delicious! I bet this was an amazing meal. Great pick for Week 2.

  5. i've wanted to try authentic fry bread for SO long. while i'd rather just travel to nm to have some legitimate puffy tacos, i guess i'll have to try my own hand at it for now. :)


I apologize for having to use the word verification but you know how spammers are. All comments with links will be treated as spam. Thank you for visiting. I will do my best to return the visit.