Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Navajo Tacos and a Book Review

Indian Fry Bread topped with seasoned ground meat and beans, topped with cheese, shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes.

I was inspired to make this dish after reading Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie for our Lit Happens Book Club.

Lit Happens is a Facebook Book Club started by my friend Cam of Culinary Adventures with Camilla.  You do not have to be a blogger to join.  We all read the assigned book and have on line discussions led by the person who chose the book.  

Image result for indian killer sherman alexie

Although there is no requirement to write a book review or create a recipe inspired by the readings, I can't seem to help myself.  I am conditioned now to reading with my foodie glasses on.

Our first book we read was Educated by Tara Westover and it inspired this review and recipe for Peach Cobbler.  Next up was Contact by Carl Sagan.  This is my review and recipe for Milky Way Thumbprints.  Last month, I chose The Tatooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.  I was inspired to make a Sheet Pan Dinner.  I am also choosing the book for March, A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle.  

I have 3 more copies available and will send them to the first three readers who comment that they would like to join us for the March Lit Happens discussion.  Just leave a message in the comments with your email address so I can get in touch with you.

So, back to this months selection....This book did grab my attention and it held my attention.  It is the story of an Indian man who was taken from his teenage mother at birth and adopted by a white family.  Unfortunately he suffers from mental illness which is exasperated by unrest between the native population and the white conservative population, each of who blame the other group for all the woes of the world.  Sound familiar?

The book tries to give viewpoints of all sides and to shed some understanding on the fear and ignorance that creates hatred, racism, bigotry, prejudice and divisiveness.  But the main emotion that prevails throughout the novel is anger.  So much anger in so many people. 

It made me wonder about the author in the same way that Stephen King's books make me wonder about him.  

There was some food in the book.  One of the angry Native American women passes out sandwiches each evening to the homeless and hungry.  There was mention of Beef Stew and twice Fry Bread was mentioned.

I did a google search for Fry Bread and learned that it is a traditional Native American bread that would be used for sopping up gravies and broths.  It also is used as a vessel to hold foods including a taco like mixture.  This dish is called Navajo Tacos or Indian Tacos.  

I thought this was perfect to make for Taco Tuesday since the protagonist, who didn't know which tribe were his people, identified most closely with the Navajo.

There are many different variations of this dish and I looked at several and then made the version I am sharing with you today.

I used venison as I thought that would be more traditional.  Feel free to use any ground meat you have on hand or is to your liking.  I used kidney beans but you could use pinto beans, white beans or black beans as well.  I used taco seasoning, some recipes called for chili seasoning or for spices that would be used in place of the pre-made seasonings.

The dough comes together quickly.  Let it rest while you make your taco/chili topping and prepare your garnishes.  The dough fries up quickly and I was able to make them in batches of 3.  They are very filling.  I had six loaves of bread.  The Teen, the Angel Face and I each had one bread with toppings and Frank had two.  I opened up the last fry bread and made a pocket sandwich with the filling for Little Miss's lunch the next day.

I am linking up with Foodies Read and sharing this post with others who, like me, read every book with their foodie glasses on.

#tacotuesday, #tacos, #venison, #frybread, #indiantacos, #Navajotacos, #NativeAmerican
Entrees, Venison,
Native American
Yield: 4-6 servingsPin it

Navajo Tacos

prep time: 15 minscook time: 20 minstotal time: 35 mins
Indian Fry Bread topped with seasoned ground meat and beans, topped with cheese, shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes.


  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 c. warm water (105-110*)
  • 1 lb. ground venison, or meat of choice
  • 1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, or beans of choice, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 c. taco seasoning
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Sour cream


  1. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and water in a bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for at least 15 minutes.
  2. In a skillet set over med high heat, brown the ground meat and drain any fat, if necessary.  Stir in the beans, tomatoes with their juices and the taco seasoning.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer until the fry bread is made.
  3. Place the dough ball onto a floured surface and sprinkle with a bit more flour.  The dough is sticky, add  enough flour that you can work the dough into six rounds about 4" in  circumference and about 1/2" thick.  
  4. Heat 2-3 inches of canola or vegetable oil in a dutch oven over high heat.  When hot, add the rounds of dough, three at a time.  Fry until puffed and golden brown on one side, 2-3 minutes, flip over and fry another minute or two until well browned and cooked through.  Drain on a paper towel.
  5. Place the fry bread on plates and divide the meat mixture among the fry bread, ladling it on top.  Sprinkle with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream, if desired.
Created using The Recipes Generator


  1. I am going to try these. My family enjoys this type of food and I think it looks downright delicious.

  2. I've already read about fry bread, but never made it. Thanks for sharing.

  3. These look great! And I like that you made it based on a book :)

  4. If you still have copies of A Year in Provence, I'll play. I read it ages ago but I've been to Provence twice since then so I'm sure I'll get something new out of a reread. h43050 at gmail

    1. I'm sorry Heather, they are all gone but you might want to check with Cam she may still have her copy that she can send to you.


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