North to Dakota’s Open Spaces

On March 2, 1861, President James Buchanan signed a bill creating the Dakota Territory. It was vast, encompassing both North and South Dakota as well as Montana and Wyoming. The name Dakota was taken from the Native American tribes who roamed in the area.

Dakota, Lakota or Nakota all mean “friendly people.” They were the same people, from different bands with slightly different dialects. The French traders called them Nadouessioux, which lead the English to call them Sioux. This is said to have come from the Ojibwe word Natowessiwak, or Little Snakes. The Lakota were enemies of the Ojibwe nation, hardly considered friendly.

North Dakota is the 19th largest state in the union, but will a population only now approaching a million, it is the 4th least populous. While no one is sure just when people first arrived in the lands that would one day become North Dakota, archaeologists have found artifacts left by hunters in the area that date back 10,000 years. North Dakota’s wide-open landscape continues to be home to game mammals such as bison, bighorn sheep, moose and pronghorns. It should come as no surprise that some of the first peoples to enter were hunters.

I know we have shared Bison Fry Bread Tacos before. As with most recipes, each rendition is slightly different. This one is a bit higher in calories, as it incorporates ground beef into the meat mixture, but less expensive to make for that very same reason. Celebrate North Dakota Day with something truly delicious.

Bison-Beef Fry Bread Tacos

2 cups shredded Lettuce
2 firm Roma Tomatoes, chopped
2 cups Mild Cheddar Cheese, optional
1 cup Sour Cream
Hot Taco Sauce, optional but best

Shred lettuce, chop tomatoes and grate cheese. Set aside. Have sour cream and hot sauce at the ready for serving.

Indian Fry Bread
2-1/2 cups Flour
1 tablespoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon Vegetable Shortening
1 cup Milk, warmed

Mix dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening; then add milk. Knead for 5 minutes on floured board. Shape dough into a long cylinder; brush with oil, cover with plastic and let rest for 20 minutes.

While the dough is resting, cook up the taco fillings.

Bison-Beef Filling
1 can Whole Pinto Beans
1/2 Red Onion, diced
1 large Jalapeno Pepper, minced
1 lb Ground Bison
1/2 lb Ground Chuck
4 tablespoons Hot Salsa

Drain pinto beans, set aside. Peel and finely dice half a red onion, set aside. Stem, core and finely mince jalapeno, set aside.

In a large skillet, brown ground meats with diced onion. Break apart with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Add Jalapeno, salsa, and pinto beans. Cover and keep warm.

To Finish
Oil for frying

When ready, fry up the bread. Cut dough into 8 equal parts. Work with 1 part at a time, keep remaining dough covered.

Roll a piece of dough into a ball. Flatten the dough by hand, with a rolling-pin or tortilla press to create about a 4 to 6-inch tortilla. Don’t worry if your fry bread isn’t perfectly round. Mine rarely are – some are oblong, some a bit more square. It really doesn’t matter.

Fry bread in hot oil until golden brown, swirling as it cooks to prevent burning. Use the end of a wooden spoon to swirl bread as it cooks, flip and continue to brown until done. Place on a paper towel, blot off excess grease and set aside in a warm oven. Repeat until all the bread has been fried.

To Assemble: Spread sour cream over each fry bread round. Top with the meat mixture. Scatter lettuce and tomatoes over meat. If desired, finish with grated cheese and hot sauce. Enjoy.

The Lord hears the cries of the poor.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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