Monday, July 18, 2011

Indian Fry Bread

I'm going to get throttled for writing about Indian fry bread and not cooking it soon for my wife. It's a risk I'm willing to take. These pop up at festivals and are covered in sugar or honey, but if you live in the Southwest you can find the savory version with beans, lettuce, and salsa. That's what I'm focusing on here.
This dish revolves around the beans. Without great refried beans, you will not have great fry bread. Thankfully making great beans is a 10 minute process, so fear not. Em makes the best beans (my mom makes her cook them whenever we have this as a family), which started as my dad's recipe years ago. I insist, buy the fat free beans. Add your own fat into them in the form of bacon grease. THIS makes the beans. If you don’t have a container of bacon drippings in your refrigerator, I have to ask why not?
I love to top mine with lettuce, tomato, cheese, salsa, and even some guacamole. Creamy beans and sour cream, the crunch of the fry bread and lettuce, and the tang of guacamole. Close your eyes and imagine how delicious that sounds. Corn, chiles, onions, whatever you want. Have a party!

Indian Fry Bread

Dough (makes ~ 10-12)
2 cups flour plus extra for rolling
2 teaspoon salt
8 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ cups warm water
Canola oil for frying

1 can fat-free refried beans (I prefer Rosarita)
1 tablespoon bacon drippings
2 tablespoons milk
¼ cup shredded Colby-jack cheese

Chopped iceberg lettuce or cabbage
Sour cream
Diced green onions
Shredded cheese
Diced tomatoes

To make the beans, heat the bacon drippings in a small pot over medium heat until melted. Add beans and combine. Add milk and cheese and stir to combine. When beans start to bubble reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes.

Heat oil (enough for at least 1 inch deep) to 350-375°C in a wide skillet. To make dough, combine dry ingredients in medium bowl. Slowly add warm water, mixing until a moist dough forms. Break off ~1/2 cup of dough and place on a floured surface. Sprinkle a bit of flour on top and roll to ~1/8 inch thickness. Using your finger poke a hole in the center (this prevents it from inflating too much in the oil). Gently place in oil and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Adjust oil temperature as needed. Flip and cook other side. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to remove excess oil. Repeat with remaining dough (depending on size of skillet, you can cook 1-2 at the same time).

To build, spread beans on fry bread followed by sour cream and guacamole (if using). Top with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, green onions, and salsa.