I grew up eating organ meats. My mom used to cook liver, kidneys, tripe and more. But tongue was only for special occasions. I loved it!
So recently, and inspired by the prospect of a whole group of traditional foods enthusiasts sharing dishes, I took on the challenge of reviving my mom’s tradition of cooking tongue. Turns out it’s MUCH easier than I thought. And everyone liked it! Most people thought it didn’t taste much different than other meat and the texture was nice and soft. Several “delicious!” were announced.
Eating organ meats is a good thing. Often, they are rich in nutrients that muscle meats lack. Also, because they are not very popular, they tend to be very inexpensive — a great way to have quality, nutrient-dense food in a budget. There’s an ethical reason to eat organ meats as well. Conscious omnivores must make an effort to use as much of the animals we consume as possible. It is VERY important to consume organ meats only from healthy, pastured, grass-fed animals!
As I said, cooking it is really easy! I think the most difficult part is to get over the looks. Here is what it looks like raw:
Well, this one was actually sort of pretty. I got it all cleaned and neatly packaged from Fleishers. I paid $11 and it weighed 2+ lbs.
You only need to put it in a pot, cover it with filtered water — and several bay leaves, if you have them on hand — and boil it ’till it’s done! That takes 2 1/2 to 3 hours in a regular pot, or about 45 minutes in a pressure cooker. It’s easier if you do this a day or 2 before you’re serving it, because you can let it cool down right in the pot.
Once it’s cold, the outer skin will come right off, with no effort whatsoever. The resulting stock is totally usable, so save it!
Lengua en Salsa (Beef Tongue in Tomato Sauce)
Prep time: 15 min
Cooking time: 30 min
* 1 beef tongue (2 to 2 1/2 lbs) cooked and sliced
* Tongue cooking stock
* 1 small can of tomato paste (like this one)
* 3-5 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
* 1 onion, chopped
* 2 ribs celery, chopped
* 1/2 red pepper, chopped
* 1/2 to 1 jalapeño, minced
* 2 big carrots, cubed
* 2 medium-size potatoes, cubed (for GAPS-legal version, double the amount of carrots or add some squash instead of potatoes)
* 1/2 cup green olives
* 1/2 lb white mushrooms, sliced
* 1/2 to 1 teaspoon each dried parsley, rosemary and oregano
* Salt and pepper to taste
* Lard, or another healthful animal fat to saute
1. In a heavy-bottom pan — a dutch oven, if you have it, is the best — add sufficient fat to saute garlic, onions, celery, red pepper and jalapeño. “Sweat” the veggies until they are nice and shinny.
2. Add tongue stock and water, if necessary, to complete about 10 cups of liquid. Add tomato paste and dissolve well.
3. Add carrots and potatoes. Bring to a boil and let simmer until these are “al dente”.
4. Season with dried herbs, salt and pepper.
5. Add mushrooms, olives and tongue. Heat thoroughly. Correct seasoning and serve, or better yet, let simmer in very low heat for another 10 minutes, turn heat off, let it rest and serve it the next day.