The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Boiled Beef Tongue

October 31st, 2009 · 5 Comments · Posted in Recipes

A highly aromatic dish

A highly aromatic dish

Somewhere under all these vegetables is an entire beef tongue. If you’ve never seen one, you might be surprised. It’s really big. And, of course, it’s just the sort of thing to gross out 9-year-old daughter, who took one look at it sitting on the kitchen counter and ran out of the room screaming.

Seems I will be eating this tongue by myself. The wife won’t have any part of it either.

I don’t know why. Beef tongue is some of the tastiest meat I know, like the best pot roast you’ve ever experienced. We get ours from our local dairy, which raises a herd of beef on grass in addition to their dairy cows and sells a wide variety of cuts. I feel good consuming the odd bits, which have the added advantage of being relatively cheap. 

Before cooking the beef for 3 1/2 hours with leeks and onions and celery and carrots, I brine it for a week according to the formula in Fergus Henderson’s book, “Nose to Tail Eating,” as described in this earlier post. After the tongue cools, getting at the meat is simply a matter of peeling away an outer layer of skin that removes easily.

Looks like I’ll be eating this for about the next week. And the cooking liquid makes an excellent broth.

How many ways of eating tongue do you know?

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  • honeysock

    Yes, tongue is scary looking. I clean it before putting it in the crockpot and piling on vegetables. Then when it’s fall-apart tender, into tacos it goes. (I make small “hybrid” tortillas for easy folding and healthy eating.)

    Just recently found this blog, Ed. Love it.

  • Ed Bruske

    Honeysock, great idea about the tacos. If I’m not mistaken, they serve them at one of the Mexican bodegas up the street. Even my wife will go for that.

  • mariam

    Stewed tongue with peas as made by continental portuguese ( not so much by the Azores and Madeira Islands, which are also part of Portugal)

    One oxe’s tongue – wash and scrub thoroughly.

    Dip into a big pot of boiling water, leave 5 to 10 seconds, fish it out, stand on a pile of old kitchen towels, hold firmly at one end with another folded towel, and scrape off the outer peel with the back of a knife ( so as not to cut into the tongue).

    Soon you wont be able to scrape any more off – the whole thing has gone cold. So dip it back into the pan of boiling water for 5 to ten seconds – and you know what to do next. Repeat until you get rid of all the white coarse outer skin.

    Wash the tongue again in cold water. Near the base, where it is thicker, it will ooze a clear , somewhat sticky liquid. This is normal and not a problem gastronomically speaking.

    In a pressure cooker big enough to accomodate the whole tongue folded in a circle, place the following :

    1/2 cup olive oil
    1 big onion ( any color onion) sliced
    4 cloves of garlic sliced
    1 big ( big like a man’s fist) tomato diced, can use to big ones if you like tomato, this will yield more sauce
    1 medium sized bunch of parsley
    2 bayleaves
    1 cup water
    1 cup white wine
    the tongue, folded in a circle, on top

    Close the pressure cooker. Cook in medium – low fire until the valve starts turning and letting off steam, time 30 minutes from this moment on.

    Open the cooker ( use whatever method the maker recommends for safe quick opening) take out the tongue to a plate, mix all the vegs around and scrape the bottom in case some bits are stuck there, add nother cup of water or white wine if it looks like there is not enough to go on cooking, add some salt – not too much as some of the liquid will still evaporate – dump in 2 pounds of frozen garden peas, mix all together, re-place the curled up tongue on top, but flip it over beforehand, so that now the side that was previously up in the pan will now be down.

    Close cooker, bring to soft boil again, time another 30 to 45 minutes cooking from the moment the valve starts letting off steam.

    Take off the stove, open as quickly as safety allows, take off the tongue, adjust salt and use some pepper in the pea stew, throw in one or two tablespoons of butter for shine, and mix all together carefully so as not to squash peas. They must remain whole, this is not a puree. You need to use fully grown , big peas, not baby peas that boil ready in 5 minutes.. we do not use soaked peas that were previously in a dry state, but I believe they will do fine in this dish too.

    Slice up the tongue in 1/2 inch portions. Slice diagonally / slanted, so the slices look bigger.
    Return them to the pot.

    Serve with pureed potatoes ( mealy, not waxy, boiled potatoes , blended in a food processor with milk , butter, salt and pepper ).

    I don’t serve with potatoes, but use mashed boiled cauliflower and garlic, tossed with some olive oil, salt and pepper.

    This is lengthy but totally worth the effort. MAjor comfort food for cold winter days.

    I think this might also work fine in a slow cooker, but not sure about how safe using raw meat … Ed will help with questions !

  • Ed Bruske

    That sure is comfort food, Mariam. My respect for Portuguese cuisine continues to grow. Thanks for these detailed instructions.

  • ChefDebbie

    I can’t wait to try the Portuguese method of preparing the tongue! In my PA Dutch family, boiled tongue is a regular treat, served with mustard or gravy. My children loved it until I made the mistake of preparing it one day when they were home from school, and they actually got to see what it was: a brown and white spotted tongue of huge proportions, taste buds standing up in all their glory. hahaha