Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lengua Estofada

Lengua was always one of my favorite childhood dishes - my lola used to put extra button mushrooms in it for me. Finally I decided to try my own version of it - not a recreation of the beefy richness I remember, but something to tweak and turn into an occasional indulgence. I started from a recipe in Let's Cook with Nora, and made several changes - most notably trebling the amount of mushrooms (what? I love them). It turned out wonderfully - the meat was tender, the sauce (more of a broth by thickness) rich and tangy but sweet from the carrots and leeks. I may try a more umami-laden version in the future, but this recipe is a keeper.

Since this is the first time I've ever tried this (and since I had an epic, 20-minute battle with the leathery outer coating of the tongue), I've felt obliged to document (and share said documentation of) the process.
  • 1 beef tongue (2.6 lbs. or so)
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1-2 T salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, quartered
  • 1 head garlic, cloves peeled and crushed
  • 1 t peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove
  • 2 carrots, cut into rough chunks
  • 3 leeks, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, including juice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cup water
  • 3-4 cups mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed (used a mix of white and cremini)
Here are most of the assembled ingredients.

Rub tongue with salt and vinegar (pre-boiled tongue below - doesn't look very different after this step). Rinse, then boil for 10 minutes.

Scrape off leathery coating on surface. (Mind, this took me 20 minutes with three different knives. It got pretty gnarly in the end, but I triumphed. It probably would have been much easier if I'd boiled the tongue for the whole time first, but I wanted it to braise with the sauce.)

Brown tongue in oil (5-10 minutes.)

Transfer to plate, then brown the onions and the garlic.

Return tongue to pot, then add everything but the mushrooms. (I may try adding less water next time.) Bring to a boil then simmer gently till the tongue is tender (recipes say three hours, it took me more like four).

Slice tongue into pieces and set aside (when I gave John a taste at this point, he said it was just like brisket or pot roast).

Strain sauce (skipped this step). Add mushrooms; turn heat to medium or high and cook for a few minutes, till sauce is reduced and mushrooms are done. Return tongue to pot and warm through. 

Serve with rice and garnish with parsley. Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment