Felipe IV in the Plaza Oriente, Madrid
Photo by: Normus_
During the early Middle Ages, the horses were part of pagan sacrifices and they were consumed in non-Christian areas such as England, Poland, Germany etc. Pope Gregory III prohibited hippophagy in 732 for being pagan. Villena states that the meat makes men brave. Salted horsemeat was eaten in desperate situations in Europe as it was thought that warriors had to eat meat. This was most prevalent in the Spanish baron’s battles during the 15th C. Even Juan II, father of Isabel I and Enrique IV, was forced to eat horsemeat in 1420 during a siege headed by Enrique de Aragon, his first wife’s brother.
It is mentioned in the Archpriest of Hita being eaten almost a century earlier with lard and cabbage. As the horse was the equivalent of a Ferrari automobile today, only aristocrats owned them for war purposes. Surprisingly, the meat is more tender than beef because in medieval Europe, horses were the size of work horses today as they had to support the weight of an armored rider. Arabian horses were light, slim and swift as Muslims did not use armor. See untos. [Castro. Alimentación. 1994:123:202; Ruíz/Brey. 1965: 1275a :198; and Villena/Calero. 2002:23b:31a]
(Perhaps because of the Pope’s prohibition to eat horsemeat but certainly due it its scarcity, no medieval document seems to have a recipe for horsemeat. Today it can be found in the Orient, especially Japan.)
Photo by: FotoosVanRobin
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
For blue cheese horseradish sauce:
3 tbsp Cabrales cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp buttermilk
3 tbsp sour cream
2 tsp white vinegar
5 tsp chopped chives
¼ tsp sugar
5 tsp horseradish
1 garlic closed mashed
freshly ground peppercorns to taste
PREHEAT OVEN TO 350º F/180ºC
Heat oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Sear the roast on all sides.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place it in a roasting pan and roast to desired doneness. Remove from oven, cover with foil and let stand 15 minutes.
Mash the cheese in a bowl with a fork. Add the buttermilk and continue mashing until it looks like cottage cheese. Put this in a blender with the other ingredients and blend the mixture.
Slice the meat and put it on a platter and serve it with the sauce.