Beef tongue is a grizzly looking thing, raw and straight from the butcher. I feel like a weirdo when I have one in my trolley, putting it on the belt at the checkout. I can see people glance at "that thing" and then at me. Beef tongue, however is So Good! It needs a little work, a lot of TLC, and definitely it needs attention to aesthetics. Nobody wants to look at elongated tastebuds on their plate.
What IS so good about (a well-prepared!) beef tongue? It is the texture and flavor. A slice of slow-cooked beef tongue will melt on your tongue, its texture ever so soft and its flavor rich with the aromatics of the stock it simmered in for hours.
The essential steps of preparing beef tongue:
1. soak it (whole and as is) in ice-cold water, for at least a couple of hours or overnight. Refresh the water a couple of times. The reason for this: it draws out impurities. By refreshing the water regularly, you rinse the tongue as it soaks.
2. prepare a well-flavored, tasty and hearty stock. Aromatics such as onion, celery, carrot, garlic, bayleaf, thyme, stalks of parsley, etc work very well for beef tongue.
3. simmer the beef tongue whole in this stock for a minimum of 2 hours (a rough average is 1 hour per 500gr (or 1 lbs) of tongue).
4. take the cooked beef tongue out, let it cool enough so you can handle it. Strip off the outer skin (with the tastebuds). It will come off easy, looking like pieces of leather.
beef tongue salad with red cabbage and salsa verde
Enough water so the beef tongue is fully submerged
1 medium onion, cut into medium dice
1/2 leek, cut into rings
1/2 carrot, cut into medium dice
1 stalk celery, chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic, crushed
3-4 stalks of lemongrass, crushed (or less if you like)
a handful of stalks from parsley and koriander
black pepper to taste
salt to taste
Add all aromatics to the water and bring to a boil. Simmer the beef tongue in this stock for a minimum of 2 hours (see step 3 above).
Fire Roasted Poblano Salsa Verde
1 poblano pepper (or green chili if you don't have poblano, but be careful with the heat)
1/2 bunch green onion, washed, dried, and crown and harder white outside removed
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped fine
1 small bunch fresh parsley,
1 small bunch fresh koriander (cilantro)
lime juice (to taste)
1 tsp raw cane sugar (or brown sugar)
salt to taste
olive oil to emulsify
Roast the poblano over direct heat until the skin blackens. Put in a plastic bag to loosen the skin further. Peel and seed the pepper, and chop fine. Give the herbs a quick chop: the finer they are going into the blender, the easier the blending-process is. Ideally, the salsa is done with a few pulses in the blender. This can be achieved if the ingredients going in, are as fine as possible. Add all ingredients except the olive oil to the blender. Start to pulse and as you do, add olive oil until the salsa is smooth and runny yet still thick. Adjust seasoning.
Slice the chilled beef tongue thin, serve the fire roasted poblano salsa verde on the side. Add another easy sauce: reduce some of the braising liquid (to intensify the flavors), add cream, whisk and serve alongside the salsa verde.
Leftover beef tongue makes for great sandwiches and/or salads!
|leftover beef tongue on mushroom breadpudding|