Chilebrown at home

Thursday, July 4, 2019


We are in Gallup New Mexico and wanted to experience some local color. It was suggested to go to the Saturday Flea Market. We did and had a wonderful experience and sampled some native food items that were new to me. Let me start out by saying it was 9:00 am in the morning and the thermometer already had broken 80 degrees. It was warm.

There was lots of local artist displaying jewelry and various Indian themed art work. My first food experience was at Doug's Mutton Shop.  I had to order a mutton sandwich. The sandwich was served on fry bread , of course. The clerk asked what I wanted on the sandwich. My options were lettuce, tomato and various condiments. I told him to serve it to me as the locals would have it.

The mutton was served with the most delicious roasted green chile. I took a bite of the mutton and very quickly realized this was some shoe leather tough meat. It was almost like a jerky. I did not find it gamy at all. The flavor was of lamb but the texture was a little too much jaw exercise to be enjoyable.

My next find was kneel down bread. The bread was wrapped in some scorched corn husks and looked like a tamale. I asked the vendor to explain what kneel down bread was. There was a little communication problem but I ordered one anyway. I found out later these are also known as Navajo tamales. It is made with ground fresh corn, a little lard and a pinch of salt. They are thrown onto hot coals and baked.

The wrapper was scorched and the actual bread looked a little unappetizing. I took a bite and was pleasantly surprised. It had a texture like a banana bread. It was also very sweet. I went back to the vendor and asked him what made it sweet. He said it was from the sweetness of the corn. I ate the whole thing. Yum.

This picture is of a native farmer who sold 'steam corn'. I have to do a little research to find out what it actually is. It looks like shriveled popcorn kernels. The farmer said you cook it for many hours and it is similar to pozole. I did buy a small bag and will tell you all about it at a later date.

Just for you information, I did not ride the pony's or this mechanical bull. What I did find was some local native food that was very interesting. I can highly recommend experiencing the Gallup Saturday Flea market. Bring some sunscreen and arrive early to avoid the heat. 

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