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27
Jan

horse slaughter 1 copy

I have appropriated this amazing picture and the one further down from a Russian blog post to which I have linked below. I would have liked to acknowledge the photographer but as I said, I don’t read Russian and can’t understand who to credit. Sorry.

Anissa: It has been a very long time since Charles Perry did a guest post here. He’s been ‘unusually busy’ (his words). Still, he has just sent me this very interesting post on eating horse meat. We didn’t have pictures which is not surprising. Charles lives in LA and I in London with no boucherie chevaline anywhere to be seen. Fortunately, I have the most wonderful friend, Victoria, who found me this Russian blog post where they show the whole process, from catching the horse, to killing it, butchering it and finally preparing the meat and sausages. The photos are pretty amazing. I assume they were done by a professional photographer or a very good amateur one. I can’t tell as I don’t understand Russian and google translate wouldn’t translate the page for me. It just went to another page. Anyhow, here is Charles’ fascinating post together with a recipe that calls for smoked horse meat sausage! I actually tasted it once, thanks to Bob Chenciner who has strong connections in Daghestan and who has written about it. He had some at home one day I was visiting and he gave me a taste. It was strong and fatty but very tasty and it may have been the karta Charles mentions below. Must check with him.

Charles: Many cultures don’t approve of eating horse flesh. To Jews, it’s not kosher because the horse doesn’t chew a cud and its hoof isn’t cloven. The Romans despised eating horse meat, and Christian authorities ultimately opposed it too, though Iceland got an exemption during the Middle Ages because its agriculture was so marginal. (Icelanders still eat horse.) By the 17th century, Europe’s problem with horse meat had gone from religious opposition to a feeling that it was just a low-class food, something eaten only by the unscrupulous or the desperately poor. Outside France, you rarely see a horse butcher in Europe today.

Though horse meat is not actually forbidden in Islam, Muhammad himself did not eat it, and neither do most Muslims. But it’s pointless to oppose hippophagy in Central Asia, where people have lots of horses and sometimes not much else. The Mongols and fellow nomads such as the Kazakhs eat whatever animals they herd, and there are some who herd nothing but horses. So there’s a horse-based cuisine, which includes the surprisingly tasty karta, a sausage of layers of horse liver and horse belly fat rolled up roly-poly fashion. It regularly appears on appetizer platters.

In the late ’80s, somebody in the former Soviet Union had the bright idea of publishing a lavish color-illustrated book titled “National Cuisine of the Kazakhs,” along the lines of “Italy the Beautiful” and such books of the period. This might have been the most poorly conceived coffee-table book ever; Kazakh food is hearty but not even remotely photogenic. Photo after photo showed a crude chunk of meat (often looking slightly scorched) surrounded by fussy food-stylist tchotchkes — flowers, dolls, Chinese bowls, carved wooden spoons, colorful folk fabrics, etc. The total effect was so brutal and incongruous that the book could have been made up by vegetarians as anti-meat propaganda.

It included a diagram of the cuts of the horse as the Kazakhs butcher them out. They’re roughly the same cuts that you’d get from a sheep or a cow (shoulder, ribs, leg, etc.), except that there’s a particularly delectable bit in the hind leg called zhaya and a polliwog-shaped lump of fat under the mane (the zhal), both of which are salted, smoked and served cold.

horse meat-making sausage copy

Zhaya Palaw

650 g zhaya or any smoked horse meat sausage
water
200 g clarified butter
150 g chopped onion
240 g julienne carrot
240 g julienne black radish
470 g rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
6 sprigs green coriander

Boil the zhaya or sausage until done. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a 2-liter saucepan and fry the onion, carrot and black radish until softened. Stir in the rice, salt and red pepper and add water to cover by the depth of two finger joints. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the water is absorbed.

Cover the saucepan with a clean dish towel and set the lid over it. Reduce the heat to low and steam the rice 20-30 minutes.

While the pilaf is cooking, cut the zhaya or sausage into slices. To serve, garnish the pilaf with the meat and the sprigs of coriander.

Anissa: Well, all there is left for me to do now is to plan a trip to Kazakhstan later in the year, hoping to find a family like the one in the Russian blog post with whom I can feast on horse flesh!


There is 24 comments on this post


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    In France, they eat horse meat (and I’ve seen, and tasted, horse milk) although someone in the US who raises horses warned me never to eat the meat. Since the horses aren’t raised for consumption, they’re apparently injected with many chemicals that aren’t supposedly fit for human ingestion. However once they are shipped to other countries (most of the horse meat in France comes from North America), they are sold as ‘food’.

    At least if you raise your own, you know what is in the meat. Or in this case, the sausage!


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    ha ha… you are too funny david. i have had horse meat steak tartare many times when i lived in paris but that was a long time ago. perhaps it is no longer so safe. will have to try it again when i’m next in paris, and try the milk. never had it.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Charles, what a fascinating article! I have tried horsemeat in Ukraine, where horsemeat salami was made through the 1980s. It disappeared along with the Soviet Union.
    I have not encountered it again since then.

    Soviet cookbooks have the most garish photos imaginable. They make pretty much all food look inedible, even pastries and desserts. I have a fairly large collection. The recipes are often good, however.
    The cookbooks published before the 1917, on the other hand, are fascinating. The most famous one is by Elena Molokhovets, The Gift to Young Housewives. However, my favorite is by Aleksandrova-Ignat’eva, who was a cooking school instructor, and her book is full of diagrams, drawings, very interesting advice and quite detailed recipes. The famous recipe for Beef Stroganoff comes from her book. Unfortunately, it has not be republished.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    I always got the feeling that the photos in Soviet cookbooks were intended to discourage desire for food.

    In 1993, Joyce Toomre published a translation of 1000 recipes from Molokhovets, about 30% of the contents of the 1897 edition (Classic Russian Cooking, Indiana University Press). It has copious notes, necessary because of the special ingredients and techniques called for.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    I agree. For instance, The Book of Healthy and Tasty Food (the 1939 edition has the introduction by Stalin) really tried to push processed foods and discourage some kinds of preparations that traditionally were done at home. In general, as with everything else, the Soviet government used cookbooks as the propaganda of the Communist region. The sections devoted to how much better the USSR is performing vis-a-vis its “bourgeois enemies” (and the old imperial regime) are quite lavishly illustrated with photographs and graphs.

    I admire Toomre’s work. What a feat it must have been! Even though I read Russian and have Molokhovets in a couple of different reprints from the original, I often go back to Toomre’s translation to decipher the techniques. I must say that the recipes are quite reliable, from pastries and breads to the savory preparations.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    In France it was long the tradition to feed children horsemeat once a week to ward off colds and ‘flu. Children like it due to it being slightly sweeter than other read meats.

    Not an old French wives’ tale, but true.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    oh, i’m sure. as i said to david above, i’ve often had horse meat steak tartare. delicious.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Hello Anissa, Charles,

    I actually tried horse meat in sausages in Belarus, it is really delicious and has a very specific texture, color and taste. The Author of the blog where the pictures are is Andrey Shaligin, but the photos are not actually his, as the post begins by a citation from some sort of a publication.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    hey thanks darine. does it give the name of the photographer anywhere so that i can credit him/her? and is there an email address for the blogger? would love to go to the next horse ‘matanza’!


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Horse meat is still fairly commonly used in Norway, both as steak and in various preparations, particularly in cured sausages – somewhat simplified termed “hestepølse” (“horse sausage”). While sausages containing some proportion of horse me…at is readily available commercially, it is often more difficult to find steaks, but even some restaurants serve it occassionally.

    As in many other countries, I notice that there is a growing opposition to eating horse in Norway. This clearly is linked to the modern use of horses as pets primarily, and it is particularly the youngest generations who are most negative towards eating it. As for myself, I am old enough to publicly admitting that I love horse meat 🙂

    The Norwegian Facebook group “NO to HORSE SAUSAGE!! Yes to horse being alloved to be a pet!” (http://www.facebook.com/pages/NEI-til-HESTEPOLSE-Ja-til-at-hest-far-vaere-kjaeledyr-33/116751258342520) is an example of this. With only 140 members, it may still be an indication that the opposition to eating horse isn’t massive in Norway.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    A little follow up:
    ‘Stabburpølse’ (http://www.gilde.no/spekepoelse/stabburpoelse-article10917-10192.html) from the large farmer’s co-operative producer Gilde is possibly the most readily available pure horse meat sausage on the Norwegian market (available in most supermarkets). For 100 gram finished product, 122 gram of horse meat is used.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Another feature of Soviet cookbooks was noted by the German scholar Peter Heine. Ethnic cookbooks (Turkmen Dishes, Uzbek Cuisine, etc.) gave recipes for a number of dishes that could rarely be made because of ingredient shortages. In an exact parallel, the same dishes regularly appeared on local restaurant menus — crossed out.
    At the Oxford Symposium one year, an English butcher told about visiting the USSR and meeting with Soviet butchers. He asked them how they cut carcasses — separating the muscles, French style, or cutting across the muscles for steaks and chops, English style. They told him they had evolved a socialist butchering method which divided the carcass into equal pieces, each containing the same proportion of meat, fat and bone.
    So all butcher’s meat was mystery meat. This may explain the prominence of soups and dishes of ground meat in Soviet cookbooks.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    thanks svein 🙂


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    what year was that charles?


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Horse meat has never been a common food in Norway. The Christian prohibitions became law with the Gulating laws c year 1000, anyone eating horse meat would have to pay 3 mark to the bishop and go to confession. The religious taboos gradually faded, but a general understanding of horse meat as ‘unclean’ remained and it was rarely eaten. What Charles says about Europe by the 17th century, also holds true for Norway. The killing of horses could only be done by people of low standing, called rakkere (knackers), they were often travellers. During the 18th century campaigns were carried out in many European countries, and pamphlets published, to get rid of the taboos, and get people to utilise a valuable resource. One pamphlet that I have, ‘On the use of horse meat as nourishment’ published in Christiania (Oslo) in 1867, suggested feeding horse meat to prisoners in the hope that others would learn eventually. It probably helped a little. In 1900, 1300 tons of horse meat was used for food in Norway. During WW II it rose to 4000 tons, then started to decline again. Now it is down to 360 tons, or about 0.1% of the total meat production in Norway, poultry included, but not wild game animals. I do agree with Svein in the present change in attitude towards horses as they are now more pets than farm animals.

    Svein is right that Gilde makes a horse meat ‘Stabburpølse’ but this is primarily a cured meat sausage made black by the addition of blood, not necessarily a horse meat sausage. The regulation that specifies the allowed ingredients of Norwegian meat products, defines ‘stabburpølse’ as containing meat, fat and blood of beef, pork and/or horse. It may also contain up to 3% prunes. I brought you some of this, Anissa, when you were working on your offal book, as an example of a sausage that has blood in it.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    i remember. thanks for this ove. v interesting. my offal book is being re-issued in an expanded version, so, send me a recipe or two if you have interesting ones and i will forward them to the publisher so that he can include them in the revised edition. and i think i have correction notes from you which i must look for 🙂


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    As a teenager in the Lycée Francais de Belgique (French high school in Belgium, in the suburbs of Brussels) I ate lunch at school (“demi-pension”). About once every week or two, we had horse “steak-frites.” It tasted almost like in a restaurant–in fact the meat is leaner than beef–so for us students in those long-ago days, it was a treat! I haven’t eaten it since and like many other things, don’t think I ever will eat it again.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    you never know dyane. in france, steak tartare used to be horse. not sure if it still is 🙂


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Anissa, I visit Paris 3,4 times a year and on each occasion, I try to find a place where I can eat this meat since I Love horse meat. Just to reassure you on this: it is still safe to eat horse meat there. I personally had no problem with those.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    can you recommend a couple of places?


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Anissa, great post and very informative. I don’t see any email address for you as I would have preferred to make this comment privately. It is a bit unfortunate that your post includes a picture that is not your own and you don’t have permission to use. Not being able to read the language is not an excuse for infringing on someone’s copyright. Imagine the same person republishing this well written post with the excuse that he tried to contact you but couldn’t because he’she doesn’t read English very well or that you don’t provide and email address. Would that make it right?


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    hmm… i see your point but i am not sure i agree entirely. i make it v clear that the photos are not mine and i give the link to where they come from. ideally i should have the photographer’s permission but i did not do what has been done to me and many others and that is appropriate without credit. anyway, my friend victoria did find out who the photographer is but we still don’t have an email address. as soon as we do, i will write and ask for permission. as for my email address it’s on the website but you make a good point. i will tell my IT guy to put a link on the blog page. thanks.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Hello dear, no no info on the photographer or a direct email of the blogger. but you can leave him a comment at the bottom of the post.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    thank you darling. will do. xx

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