Granted, beef tongue is a grizzly looking thing when you buy it from the butcher. It’s a grey big floppy thing and it takes some imagination to see it as the delicious meat it will be, after you had your kitchen way with it.
There are different ways to prepare tongue, from pickling to roasting. My preferred preparation celebrates the velvety tender texture achieved from braising tongue in aromatic stock.
And for anyone who has a “texture thing” with offal, this preparation of tongue remedies that completely. The preparation is for beef tongue: lamb and pork tongue should follow the same procedure, however being a lot smaller, cooking time will be less.
Get the butcher to clean the tongue properly and ready for use.
Soak the tongue for a couple hours in ice water (refresh the water several times)
Prepare a stockpot large enough to hold your tongue (;-) with a good, hearty stock (be generous with aromatic vegetables like celery, carrot, onion, garlic and add thyme, bayleaf, whole peppercorns)
Bring to a boil with the drained tongue and simmer over low heat for 2-3 hours
Take out the tongue and remove the tough outer shell. What you have now is a beautiful piece of tender, flavorful beef.
Strain the stock through a cheesecloth and use as stock for a soup. Keep 2-3 cups to reheat the beef tongue.
INGREDIENTS (serves 4)
- 1 whole beef tongue, cooked following basic preparation
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 cup stock from cooking the tongue
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley (or carrot tops)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
- 1 pound baby carrots, glazed and soft (= cooked and finished by sautéing in a little butter over medium heat for 4-5 minutes and adding a lick of honey at the end)
Slice the beef tongue in 1-inch thick slices. Heat the butter in a skillet until foaming. Sear the tongue slices on both sides until caramelized. Take out and keep warm.
Add the mustard and stock and reduce until thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Return the beef tongue to the sauce to warm through. In the meantime, mix the finely chopped parsley with garlic and orange peel.
Just before serving, sprinkle parsley mixture over the beef tongue and add the glazed carrots. Serve with roast potatoes or polenta!