Meat from a horse is obviously not beef, but these animals are anatomically similar and the cuts are the same.
It must be respected that many people see horses as pets, not food. However, there are many taboos and prejudices considering horsemeat that are unfortunate. The meat has a wonderful texture and is very tasty. What’s more, horses usually get to live a long and sound life. This makes horsemeat a natural and sustainable raw material in the kitchen.
Keep in mind
The cuts are the same as for beef, but the meat contains less fat. It is similar to beef and it is tender, lean and tasty. In, for example, France, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Japan, horsemeat is highly appreciated. You will find restaurants that specialize in serving it.
The availability of horse is irregular – but also subject to strict controls. The animals are not brought to slaughter to order and therefore the meat from different horses can vary a lot. Factors like age, race, forage and circumstances in the life of the animal all play a part.
Inexpensive cuts are perfect for long, slow cooking in casseroles (preferably spicy ones, see below). However, finer cuts like the tenderloin, sirloin and entrecote (read more about each cut under beef) are generally easier to come by. Much of the meat tends to become mince and/or an ingredient for sausages.
How to cook horsemeat
Different cuts on a horse, just like those from beef, have different properties. You can make basically the same assumptions: Hard working muscles from the animals fore will be rich in connective tissue and need to be cooked for a long time to become tender. Cuts from the back and rear will be more lean and tender and are suitable for a short burst of high heat and should not be cooked through.
Despite the resemblance to beef, the meat has a character of its own. It is sweeter to the taste and to many it has some resemblance to game meat. Mushrooms and other ingredients from the forest make good accompaniments.
The natural sweetness can be suitable matched with, for example,. The sweetness also goes well with strong flavors, not least black pepper and Asian spices.
Fry or grill the lean meat as if it were game. Make sure to get a tasty surface by frying on intensive heat using oil. In the next stage you can lower the temperature and ladle the meat with butter.
Accompaniments rich in fat and generous grill wines are recommended.
Horsemeat tournedos. Add generous amounts of salt and pepper and wrap the even, rounded steaks of horse tenderloin in bacon before frying them in a hot pan. Serve with classical meat accompaniments such as garlic butter, béarnaise, red wine sauce, potato gratin, French fries, roast potatoes, etc…