Southwest Orange Chili-Crusted Navajo Burgers with Cactus Cole Slaw served in between Indian Fry Bread

Pairs well with:


Bright and full-bodied, this Zinfandel wine is a curious contradiction in tastes.

Take one bite of this Southwest inspired burger and you will so unduly agree that this creation of flavors from the chili-crusted queso fresco stuffed patties, nestled in a bed of spicy cactus coleslaw and served between slices of traditional chewy crisp Navajo Fry Bread, make this a real treat to the taste buds.You will also agree that the many colors and textures in the burger represent our beautiful sunsets, and painted deserts.


Cactus Coleslaw:
1/2 cup chopped Nopalitos * (tender cactus, see below)
1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
3 cups green cabbage, shredded
1/4 cup red cabbage, shredded
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce

Indian Fry Bread:
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 cup vegetable oil

3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, cored, seeded, and minced
2 teaspoons cracked black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon,
3 tablespoons chili powder

Beef Patties:
2 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 4 oz. can roasted diced green chiles
1/2 cup onion, minced
3 oz. crumbled corn tortilla chips
4 oz queso fresco cheese, crumbled

Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
1 California Avocado, peeled, seeded, quartered and sliced
2 navel oranges, cut the peel and white pith from the orange, and cut between the membranes to release the segments



Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

To make the coleslaw, combine the chopped cactus, bell pepper, green cabbage, red cabbage, cilantro, lime juice, sugar, mayonnaise and Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce together and refrigerate until needed

To make Indian Fry Bread, combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add warm water in small amounts and knead dough until soft but not sticky. Adjust flour or water as needed. Cover bowl and let stand about 15 minutes. Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces. Using floured hands, shape stretch, pat, and form a oblong disk of about 7 to 8 inches in diameter. Pour 1 cup vegetable oil into a 10-inch fireproof skillet, place on heated grill and heat the oil to 350 degrees F. Gently place formed dough into oil, and be careful not to splatter the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, and then flip the bread over using a pair of tongs, and fry the other side. Drain over paper towels. Repeat with remaining formed disks. When the bread is cooled to touch, slice in half and wrap the bread in foil to keep warm.

In a small bowl combine the garlic cloves, jalapeño, cracked peppercorns, cinnamon, and chili powder in a small bowl. Set aside until needed.

To make the patties, season the ground chuck with salt, pepper, add green chiles, and onion and gently mix well, handling the meat a little as possible to prevent compacting it. Divide the meat into 12 equal portions. Gently form twelve patties into shapes that will fit into fry-bread pieces. Top six of the patties with divided crumbled tortilla chips, and queso fresco cheese, then top with the remaining patties pinching the edges to seal. Divide the chili-crust mix onto one side of each prepared patty and press the ingredients into the meat to adhere.

To pre-heated grill, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the chili-crusted patties side on the rack first, and cook turning once, until done preference, 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until an internal temperature of 160 degrees F has been reached.

To assemble the burgers, place a mound of cactus coleslaw on the top of bottom pieces of fry-bread, then add a burger patty, chili-crusted side up. Top each patty, alternating avocado slices and orange segments, and then top with other half of fry-bread and serve.