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Kazakh Horse Steak, Kimchi, and Samsa

by Florian
Kazakh Horse Meat Medallion, Kimchi, and Samsa

I know, I know: I’ve already posted a recipes for a Kazakh horse steak less than one year ago. How many horse steak recipes does one need? How many Kazakh recipes does one need? For most people, that would be zero and zero. But we’re here to change that at Food Perestroika, as one cannot eat beef and potatoes every night! And since that last horse steak post, I’ve had other ideas about how to combine different elements of Kazakhstan’s multifaceted cultural heritage:

  • The samsas hail from Uzbekistan. These baked dumplings — cousins of the better-known Indian samosa — are typically filled with minced meat and onion (lots of it), seasoned with the usual Central Asian spices (wild cumin and coriander). Uzbek food is quite common in Kazakhstan, and you’ll find samsas at supermarkets, restaurants, and street vendors. My recipe is inspired from cookbooks by Khakim Ganiev and Stalik Khankishiev. At some point, I should make a whole post dedicated to samsas, their different dough types and their various fillings; but this is an excellent recipe to get started (you can substitute the horse meat with lamb — in which case you’d entirely omit the bone marrow, as lamb already contains enough fat whereas horse meat is lean). Note that the proportions below make 8 servings, while the horse steak recipe only serves 4, but you’ll be happy to have the extra dumplings. I’ve never heard of anyone going through the trouble of making their own only to have 4 of them — even 8 seems pretty skimpy!
  • The kimchi is another import from Koryo-saram cuisine (like my markovka). Well, not exactly: the Koryo-saram dish is called chimcha, and consists of pickled cabbage mixed with garlic and hot pepper. Close enough. One day, I shall learn the subtle nuances of chimcha and endeavor to make my own. But for now, I’m happy with store-bought kimchi.
  • Finally, the horse meat. Kazakhstan is the earliest known place where horses were domesticated. Kazakhs being nomads back in the day, horses provided both transport and food. Nowadays, the Kazakh lives in a Soviet project and sometimes eats in restaurant yurts made of concrete, but still enjoys horse dishes, such as beshbarmak. In remote steppe villages, there’s nothing like slaughtering a horse for special occasions. In Almaty, hipsters eat horse steak. But where will you find horse meat in the USA? Get in your car, and drive north. See below…
Central Asian Food - Samsas

Where to buy good horse meat in Montreal?

I don’t know why it’s so hard to find an answer to this question on the web. Let’s make it very clear, so that search engines can pick it up. Even in Canada where it’s legal, you’re not going to find horse meat at every butcher shop. Although some supermarkets might sell it, you can only expect supermarket quality and, most of the time, ground meat. But we want top choice equine here, beautiful tenderloins that we can cut into thick medallions. Whether you are looking for good horse meat in Montreal, want to buy tender horse meat in La belle province, seek to purchase delicious horse meat in Montreal, or just wonder where one can find top quality horse meat in Quebec’s largest city, here are a couple places where I believe you will consistently find horse tenderloin:

  • First, the Atwater Market. This is where I bought the tenderloin for today’s recipe. Again, horse meat being a niche product, it’s not going to jump out at you, so keep asking every butcher at the market (they’re all grouped together in the same area) until you find one who carries it. Does Jean-Talon sell horse meat too? Maybe, but I haven’t checked.
  • Second, La Maison Du Rôti. Apparently, they have a tendency to add horse meat (and pork) even where you don’t expect it, and this seriously tarnished their reputation. But since horse meat is what we want, we can’t complain. I haven’t actually tried their horse tenderloin, but their beef fillet tastes really great as do a great many of their other products, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

I’m not saying these two are the only stores, but they are well-established, and I’m very happy with the horse meat I bought at Atwater. If I find more stores, I’ll just have to come up with more Kazakh horse steak recipes next year…

Kazakh Horse Meat Medallion, Kimchi, and Samsa

Cooked bone marrow
Yields 8 servings

750 g beef marrow bones

  • Soak the bones in water for 1 hour, changing the water once after 30 minutes.
  • Place the bones in an oven-proof dish, and roast in a 175 C / 350 F oven for 40-50 minutes, until brown, flipping them once at mid-time. Let cool for a few minutes.
  • Collect the fat from the oven dish, and reserve.
  • Using a knife, take the marrow out of the bones, and reserve. Discard the bones.

Samsa dough
Yields 8 servings

200 g flour
1.5 g salt
50 g (about 1) egg, beaten
70 g water
30 g reserved fat from marrow bones, or melted butter

  • In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, egg, and water. Knead the dough by hand for a minute, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 1 mm thin disc of 40-45 cm diameter. Brush with the fat, and roll into a cylinder. Roll the cylinder into a coil (just to make it easier to store), cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for another 30 minutes.

Samsa filling
Yields 8 samsas

260 g horse tenderloin, small dice
220 g peeled onion, small dice
80 g cooked bone marrow, small dice
8 g salt
0.5 g black pepper
1 g ground coriander
2 g wild cumin (available here) or regular cumin

  • In a bowl, combine the horse meat, onion, and bone marrow.
  • Add the salt, pepper, coriander, and cumin, and mix with a spatula. Reserve in the refrigerator.
Central Asian Food - Samsas

Yields 8 samsas

15 g (about 1) egg yolk
20 g milk
samsa dough
flour (for work surface)
samsa filling
about 10 g black and white sesame seeds

  • In a small bowl, mix the egg yolk and milk to make an egg wash.
  • Uncoil the samsa dough, but keep in a cylinder. Cut and discard 1 cm from both ends, then cut the cylinder into pieces of 5 cm each. Each piece weighed about 45 g in my case; feel free to make them smaller or larger if you want, just be sure to scale the amount of filling accordingly.
  • On a floured surface, with each cylindrical piece resting on one of its cut sides, use your hand to flatten into discs. You should see nice concentric circles, resulting from the multiple layers of dough being flattened. Roll each disc to a 12-15 cm diameter, until about 2 mm thick in the center and thinner at the edges. Never flip the dough.
  • Place some filling in a triangular shape at the center of each disc. The filling-to-meat ratio should be approximately 1.5:1 (in my case, I had 65-70 g of filling per samsa). Brush the edges of the dough with egg wash, then fold to shape each samsa into a triangle.
  • Flip each samsa, brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with black and white sesame seeds. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake the samsas in a 220 C / 425 F oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Reserve on a cooling rack, and proceed to the assembly steps.

Yields 4 servings

480 g horse tenderloin
canola oil
25 g butter, sliced
black pepper, ground
4 samsas (half of above recipe)
240 g kimchi, room temperature

  • Season the meat with salt, then sauté with canola oil in a pan over high heat. Sear until brown, then remove from the heat.
  • Transfer the tenderloin with the butter to one or more sous-vide pouches, and vacuum-seal. Cook in a 49 C / 120 F water bath for 1 hour.
  • Take the meat out of the sous-vide pouches, and sauté with canola oil in a pan over high heat once again, to brown the outside some more. Transfer to a plate, season with pepper, and let rest for a couple minutes.
  • Reheat the samsas in the oven for a few minutes if needed.
  • Slice the meat into 4 medallions, top with some of the cooking liquid from the sous-vide pouch, and some extra salt.
  • On each plate or bowl, arrange a horse medallion, a samsa, and a spoonful of kimchi. Serve!
Kazakh Horse Meat Medallion, Kimchi, and Samsa

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