Zuurvlees (horse stew)

summer2015-2085

For my very first post on unusual food I draw on a childhood memory. Zuurvlees might be considered strange or even unethical to some, but it’s a dish I grew up on and still consider to be one of my favorite foods.

For those of you who don’t read Dutch, zuurvlees translates from to “sour meat”. It’s a dish that is only found the southern edge of The Netherlands in the province of Limburg, though it draws inspiration from neighboring Germany.

Zuurvlees is a stew made of horse meat, hence the label of unusual. Many people in The Netherlands won’t eat horse meat anymore these days, and zuurvlees is made more and more of stewed beef. Few places still serve the original horse meat stew. If you want to have a taste for yourself, your best bet is to go to the ancient city of Maastricht where several restaurants still serve the dish in its original form.

Despite its name, zuurvlees isn’t actually all that sour. Sure, there is a heavy dose of vinegar to tenderize the meat, but the predominant flavor leans more towards sweet thanks to the addition of Dutch gingerbread. The gingerbread is added to thicken the stew and works as a natural sweetener. Some recipes even call for a few spoonful’s of a thick local fruit syrup called stroop.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 10

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