Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Kazakhstan - Horsemeat

I hate to say this, but every time I think of Kazakhstan I think of Borat chasing his chicken on a New York subway. I know many people from Kazakhstan were upset about how the movie Borat portrayed them, but then again, the movie didn’t exactly show the U.S. in its best light either.

But to be fair, lets forget Borat and explore this country that few from the outside world know. You may be surprised to learn that Kazakhstan’s biggest city, Almaty, is very European with international shops, suburbs, fine restaurants, nightclubs and 24-hour supermarkets. The country’s capital, Astana, is a multi-cultural city that is racing to catch up with the rest of the world.

Then yes, you’ll also find remote open spaces, Soviet-era service and many dishes with horsemeat. In fact, when I was looking for recipes I was having a hard time finding a dish that didn’t have horsemeat. There was horsemeat sausages, horse liver, served with onions and peppers, horsemeat lard made from horse’s neck and salted horse’s hip and hind leg.

Julia, like most nine-year-old little girls, is crazy about horses – has horse posters in her room and takes horseback riding lessons. There was no way I was going to serve up horsemeat – if even I could find it.

Thankfully I found a beef soup recipe (perhaps the authentic version required horsemeat). It was fairly easy to make and tasty and certainly something we could all enjoy.

Kazakh Beef Soup

3 beef soup bones
2 TBSP olive oil, divided
1 16 oz. jar of Sauerkraut, rinsed and drained 1
1 onion, chopped
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cubes
1 TBSP hot chili sauce, or to taste
1/4 cup sour cream, optional

Place soup bones in a big pot with enough water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring to boil and cook uncover for about 1 hour to make a beef stock. Remove bones and col.

Heat 1 TBSP of oil in a large skillet. Sauté sauerkraut for a few minutes, then add just enough water to cover sauerkraut, cover the pan and let simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes or until sour taste is gone. Drain and set aside.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and sauté onion until tender.

When bones are out of stock, add potatoes and boil until tender. Stir in sauerkraut, onions and any meat that can be picked from the bones, Season with hot sauce and salt. Simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve with a dollop of sour cream.

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