Friday, March 2, 2012

Navajo Tacos and Green Chile Stew


Navajo Tacos and Green Chile Stew

I'm all about food memories!  The kind of memories that evoke a moment in time through just one bite of a remembered dish.  In the instant the food touches your taste buds, your mind flashes back to that special moment in time.  Memories flood your mind, some in a good ways, others maybe not so much.

This story leads to one of my most happy food memories.

When I was in Elementary school my older brother began dating an American Indian girl. After a few months of dating, our families got to know each other and soon became very close friends.  As a result, my family became involved with the Lone Feather Indian Counsel in Colorado Springs, CO.  Our involvement began by going to monthly meetings where our parents helped with media promotions, fundraising for the Indian College Fund and event planning.  The Council sold Navajo Tacos, Chile and Posole to raise money for the College Fund, at mini Pow Wows throughout the year, culminating in an extravagant Pow Wow in the summer.  American Indians from around the Country would travel to Colorado to compete for cash prizes and to see the crowning of the years newest Indian Princess.

The Lone Feather Indian Counsel was made up of American Indians from Colorado, Taos New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Nebraska however, other regions were represented. My father is one quarter Cree Indian, which makes me one eighth Cree, however, you wouldn't know it to look at me with my light complection and blue eyes.




Photos were taken during a mini Pow Wow in Manitou Springs, Colorado, 1971
At the end of the meetings, the Elder drummers would play and sing traditional music while the families gathered to dance. The women would wrap hand made shawls around their shoulders and the men would don traditional headdress; merging in a cacophony of movement and joy. It was a truly cultural experience to be a part of the organization and see "real" American Indians, living life and learning to understand the American Indian culture in such a personal way.  All of us, living normal everyday lives in normal everyday homes but experiencing traditions long past. 

I began to discern the different melodies of each song and learn the history of the long sung stories. The rhythmic beat of the drums and the strong clear voices of the elders, remain in my mind to this day. 




Mingled together, the smell of Indian Fry Bread and Pasole, the dirt filling my nose as the fancy dancers move around the arena floor, the anticipation of learning if my friend Alice, would become the next Indian Princess; all moments I can remember as if it were yesterday with just one bite of Indian Fry Bread

Frybread has a significant role in Native American cultures. It is often served both at home and at gatherings. The way it is served varies from region to region and different tribes have different recipes. It can be found in its many ways at state fairs and pow wows, but what is served to the paying public may be different than what is served in private homes and in the context of tribal family relations. Source Wikipedia





My Fry Bread recipe comes from a close family friend, Ann Fineran, a Pine Ridge Sioux, from South Dakota.  She was the last of her linage. 


Recipe
Indian Fry Bread

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup 2% or whole milk
canola oil for frying about 4 cups

Method

  • Heat oil on medium high in a cast iron skillet
  • Combine dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl
  • blend together with a wooden spoon
  • add milk and stir until dough forms a ball
  • place dough on a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until dough is shiny
  • return dough to bowl and rest for 5 minutes
  • cut dough in half, then quarters, finally cutting the quarters in half.
  • roll dough thinly with a floured rolling pin
  • cook in hot oil until golden brown, turning several times
  • drain on paper towels










Green Chile Stew

3-4 boneless pork chops cubed
1 small yellow onion diced
1 cup roasted green chilies (preferably fresh roasted)
2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 can chopped tomatoes with liquid
3 cups water
1 14 ounce can Ranch Style Beans
3-4 tablespoons chicken base concentrate (to taste)
salt and pepper to taste

Garnish
1 head lettuce
2 cups shredded cheese
sour cream
honey


Method
  • cube pork chops, season with salt and pepper
  • chop onion
  • heat heavy bottom sauce pan on medium high
  • add oil and saute onions until translucent
  • add meat and saute till browned
  • add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil
  • reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 hours

Assemble Navajo Tacos and serve
Serves 6




 


 
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10 comments:

  1. I rarely see recipes based on First Nations cuisine (First Nations being the term used in Canada for aboriginal people, not including Metis and Inuit, if I'm correct, and I might not be).

    I'd be interested in knowing how those dishes developed over the years.

    This was a good read. Thanks!

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  2. Oooo, those look delish! Thanks for stopping by and following. I'm Linky Following you back ;).

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  3. Hi Daniel, Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and taking the time to read my story! You make a great point about the origins and development of First Nation dishes. Here are a few known facts:

    Frybread (also spelled fry bread) is a Native American food found throughout the United States. Frybread is a flat dough fried or deep-fried in oil, shortening, or lard. The dough is generally leavened by yeast or baking powder.

    Frybread can be eaten alone or with various toppings such as honey or hot beef. It is a simple complement to meals. Frybread is the base of an Indian taco, which is topped with ground beef, tomatoes, cheese, onions, and lettuce

    Frybread has a significant role in Native American cultures. It is often served both at home and at gatherings. The way it is served varies from region to region and different tribes have different recipes. It can be found in its many ways at state fairs and pow wows, but what is served to the paying public may be different than what is served in private homes and in the context of tribal family relations.

    According to Navajo tradition, frybread was created using flour, sugar, salt and lard given by the United States government when the Navajo Native Americans were relocated to Bosque Redondo, New Mexico from Arizona 144 years ago

    Frybread was named the official "state bread" of South Dakota in 2005

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that a plate of fried bread consists of 700 calories and 27 grams of fat

    Frybread is also known in South American cooking as cachanga
    source Wikipedia.

    By the way, I'll add a snipet of the text to my story!

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  4. Mom, that looks delicious, oh wait, they are delicious!!! I had like 5!

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  5. Thanks Sweetie! You're the best taste tester ever!! Love you!

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  6. Hey Rebecka, thks for sharing this interesting story & recipe! So much flavour & looks healthy too. Have a great weekend, dear!

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  7. oooo..it looks so yummy especially the frybread. Thanks for sharing your memories, an interesting story.

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  8. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I love frybread xo

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  9. Yum, yum, yum. I grew up in Arizona and have lots of good memories of fry bread and green chile. Thanks for sharing your personal story and recipe. We will have to file this away.

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  10. Shirley, So nice to see you my friend!Hope you are well!!

    What's Baking, I'm happy to share some of my life's stories. I bet you have a few of your own?

    Kathrine, There's nothing better than a piece of deep fried bread!! ;)

    City, My favorite style of green chili is from the South West. I really miss the flavors of New Mexico and Arizona.

    ReplyDelete

♥I really appreciate your comments♥

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