Whenever i talk about horse everyone always looks so surprised as if they are waiting for me to tell them that i am joking. I don't think there are many animals left that are not on someone's plate somewhere in this world. So why should horse be any different? I've eaten seared horse, horse tartar, even raw horse bits as i'm butchering. I've made a batch of horse salami that turned out great, but my favorite of all horse treatments is breasola. Air drying it really brings out the sweetness in this meat, which is very similar to bison i find, only a hell of a lot bigger!!
A typical horse striploin weighs about 9 kilo's, giving you approx. 15lbs of useable meat for breasola with a bit left over to make a terrine or small salami with. The waste isn't bad assuming you take care in cleaning it. i calculated just over 815 grams of waste. at 20 bucks a kilo, it gives me a decent net. I guess the only catch with horse, or any striploin for that matter is that the meat is very soft and it has a lot of little nicks and grooves that are not the best for breasola.
Unlike a round of eye of beef, which is one big solid hunk of meat, the horse striploin is a bit harder to deal with. You'll have to work around the sinew and silver skin within the cut and make sure you break it down strategically. Take your time and envision your end product. I've found that because it isn't firm like a beef roast and because it has so many grooves, it makes it harder to form a perfect cylinder without having a fold in the meat. To fix this, i usually cure, wrap in cheesecloth and then press it on a rack with a weight on it for the first 3 days. The ones that i didn't press that had a little more body to them i left circular. After drying, as i sliced into them there was white mold lines throughout. This wasn't a bad thing ofcourse as it was good mold rather then that bad stuff, but certainly under the wrong conditions, could ruin your product. Again I'm trying to measure my quantities and i guess ill have to wait till the end product to see if certain quantities should be adjusted. I find that if you dont put enough salt and dont leave it in its cure long enough, your meat will still air dry but it will be a little dull in flavor making the wait not so worth while.
15lbs horse striploin
150 gr salt
150 gr sugar
20 gr instacure #2
25 gr black pepper, coarse ground
6 gr fresh thyme, chopped
3 gr cloves, coarse ground
4 gr nutmeg, rasped
15 gr cinnamon sticks, crushed
205 gr dry red wine
30 juniper berries
Make sure you rub this cure in really well. Place in ziplock bags with the red wine and store in the fridge for 10-14 days redistributing the brine every two days. I plan to cure most of this horse in mustard seeds and i will be sure to post as the recipe progresses. With any luck they will look like these in a couple of months.