Monday, January 28, 2008

Indian Tacos - Tutorial with Pictures

Ok, lets begin with the ingredients for the first part. You need hamburger, anything from 1/4 of a pound all the way to a full 1 pound, your choice. Two or more cans of Ranch Style Beans, i ended up adding 3 cans, one of which had jalepenos in it. One onion, diced and divided, Chili Powder, Garlic, Pepper and Salt (of which i forgot to put in the picture!). IGNORE the can of diced does NOT go in this dish, i had a brain shortage at the time of taking pictures.

Dice up your onion and reserve half for taco topping. The remaining half you will scramble up with your meat.

To your meat, you add your onions, salt, pepper, garlic, and about 2 tablespoons of Chili Powder. (you will taste the final concoction and add more if needed).

See how good brown it is getting? the onions are getting well cooked.

Now it is time to add the beans. Dump all three cans of beans in along with Two cans full of water to the pot. So, always one less can of water than you have of beans.
Now, here is the great can keep adding beans and beans and more beans and this dish is just great...just keep adding more seasoning also (mainly the chili powder). So expected company with this meal is not a problem! This is a great meal and you can really stretch your meat. i usually use only 1/4 of a pound, but this time it was about 2/3 of a pound. You don't have to use Ranch Style beans but you can cook your beans yourself, just make up a batch of good thick and seasoned pinto beans and you will be set! i prefer using the cans though, less thought and planning is needed for this meal that way :)

Let the beans and meat simmer away for a while, at least 30 minutes or so to get it nice and hot and flavors to blend. This is the time to check for seasoning. You don't was super water broth, but not real thick either, i would say on the thin side but not watery, kwim? you need the broth because it is the best part of the taco. that broth gets soaked up by the fry bread and is heavenly!!!

Now, on to the fry bread. You will need self rising flour (or you can make your own with regular flour, baking powder and salt), buttermilk (or soured sweet milk) and shortening or other type of oil to fry in. The honey is for the finished product....fry bread dipped in honey is a wonderful dessert, breakfast or snack, so i always make up extra fry bread to have for the next couple of days for exactly those things. it heats up great 20 seconds in the microwave!

Now, you want to get your oil/shortening on to be heating up while you mix up the dough. I used my smaller cast iron skillet this time because i didn't have enough shortening to fill up my cast iron dutch oven, which is what i prefer, because even though the oil only goes about 1 to 1.5 inches up the sides, the tall sides of the dutch oven really help contain the oil splatters. You can use whatever you feel comfy frying in, even an electric skillet if you want, or a fry daddy.

This here is the dough. i don't really measure, because it is just the self rising flour and the buttermilk. you add enough buttermilk to the flour to form a soft dough. it will be sticky so flour your hands. I stir it until it forms a ball (do not over mix!) and then i flour my hands and start making patties.

I make mine about 3/4 of an inch thick. i try to get them all made up and layered on a plate so i only have to get my hands real messy once :) Remember, don't over work the dough, you do NOT want gluten to form.

Now, it is time to check to make sure your oil is hot enough. If it is not hot enough, your dough will sink to the bottom and just lay there, soaking up the oil....gross! I always test my oil with the end of a wooden spoon. It should have bubbles coming from the end of the spoon if the oil is hot enough. See the bubbles? Or, you can be the boring type of a cook, and just drop a teeny tiny piece of the dough in and see how it cooks it. I prefer the spoon method :)

Now, carefuly drop in a dough patty. Careful, don't get burned! If i use my big cast iron dutch oven, i can usually cook about 3 or 4 of the dough patties, depending on how big i made them. you do not want them to touch. In this small skillet, i only did one, i didn't feel like cleaning up a big grease mess!

Keep an eye on it and turn those babies over when the edges start to get golden brown like this one.

Now, your kitchen is starting to smell really good! It usually takes about a minute or so on each side, though the second side usually cooks faster than the first side.

When it is done, take it out carefully avoiding to drop grease all over your stove, cause we all know what a pain that is too clean. Have them drain on a paper towel or even coffee filters work great in a pinch to catch up that grease.

Now, for the toppings: you will need grated cheese of your choice ( i prefer jack/colby blend), lettuce, the reserved diced onion, and salsa of your choice.

First, you pick your favorite peice of bread from the growing pile

You put it on your plate. At this point, you have a decision to make. You can either make your taco 'whole' but just putting the bread like above, or, you can choose to make eating this meal less messy, by tearing the bread into bite sized peices.....that is my choice. plus, it is more surface area to soak up that great broth!

Next, you layer on the meat/bean mixture...make sure you gets lots of that broth, you will end up using it!!

then, top with lettuce, cheese, diced onions and finally, the salsa!. There you have it, indian tacos! These babies taste SO much better than they look......the frybread is just yummy!
I have also made this with just the beans and no meat, which is a great way to have a meatless meal night. I would also think that those of you who grind your own wheat can make this, just use your hard wheat berries and just add in the necessary baking powder and salt to make it self rising. I hope some day to have my own grain mill! This can be a very healthy meal, minus the cooking oil :)


Candi said...

Too funny that you posted this....I almost asked you to post the recipe on my last comment. I had the recipe printed out, but misplaced it.

The look super yummy. We had tostadas last night and it made me think of your Indian tacos. I was out of taco shells, so I fried up some corn tortillas until crispy. We will have to give these a try!! YUM!

Oh--I didn't know about the wooden spoon trick. I usually just splash some water in the pan to see if it sizzles. Does that make me a boring cook?? LOL!

Samantha said...

LOL Candi, not a boring cook, but a "quick" to jump out of the way of those oil splatters from the water :)

we LOVE fry bread! Actually tonight, i used the meat/bean mixture (i can't call it chili because there is no tomatoe product in it) which had thickened up a bit overnight and i topped baked potatoes with it along with cheese. I had never done that before and it was a really big hit!

Candi said...

Yum--that sounds good, too!

Anonymous said...

Boy that looks good.