Friday, June 06, 2008

Beef tongue

WARNING TO VEGETARIANS: This post deals almost exclusively with meat.

WARNING TO OMNIVORES: This post deals almost exclusively with weird meat!

Okay, so I have put it off for a long time. Yes, years. I have had a growing collection of (deep breath) beef tongue in my freezer. Each steer we slaughter comes with a tongue. And various other things like a heart, two kidneys, a liver. We have these things all tidily packaged in white paper in our freezer.

A few months ago I made kidney stew. The Princess and I were reading Mirette on the High Wire as part of our Five in a Row curriculum (which I mostly just use to guide our circle time theme). "Delicious" kidney stew is mentioned, so in keeping with the theme, I found a genuine french kidney stew recipe, and we had kidney stew with crusty french bread for dinner. It was terrible. Ugh.

We have used up our regular frozen beef. We have eaten our last frozen chicken. We are down to the end, and I really don't want to buy factory farm meat at the grocery store.

So I cooked beef tongue today.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to learn how to cook beef tongue these days? Only one of my cookbooks has a recipe (The Joy of Cooking from 1964... and I'll bet the new edition doesn't have it). Online the recipes are few and far between. Seems beef tongue is especially enjoyed in Mexico and the Philippines. But not so much in the US.

I decided to take the Mexican angle today. So I made beef tacos. Note the word tongue is not mentioned... we had BEEF TACOS. Some of us have these bizarre psychological hangups. I'm not naming names.

So, on to the method. I kind of pieced this whole thing together from various sources and made the sauce out of what I had available.

First I (with great trepidation) unwrapped the packages. The tongues looked like tongues. Really big tongues. I decided to spare you pictures, but if you are really curious, look here. I scrubbed them and put them in a big pot, then covered them with water.

I put the pot on the stove, added a few bay leaves, a lot of garlic, about a teaspoon of salt and some coriander seeds. Brought it to boil and let it cook for 3 hours.

When it was done, I took it out and easily removed the skin, then cut up the meat. I sauteed (for 1 min):

2 T vegetable oil
2 T flour
2 T chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin

Then I added:

the sliced tongue
14 oz can stewed tomatoes (with liquid)
1 cup water left from boiling tongue
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder

I mixed the whole thing and let it simmer until dinner time, about 45 minutes.

Here it is, on a home made whole wheat tortilla, with onions, cheese and lettuce, ready to be rolled up:

The meal met with approval, but I still hadn't told the kids what kind of beef we were eating. After Farmer Boy had seconds, I told them they had eaten tongue, and they laughed! I really have the best kids in the universe.

As for me, I would not be sad if I never ate tongue again. I'll confess. I'm the one with hangups.


tinylittlemama said...

I still think you are the bravest woman on the planet! I cinnfess I won't be using your tongue recipe, but those homemade tortillas? You bet! :)

Jennifer said...

oh my. is it okay that we are so relieved we missed out on that one? can you imagine what poor sterling would have done?!

Abigail said...

Oh my dear Patti--I read this the day you posted it, but never made it to commenting! What fun! I have to agree though, I would be the one with the biggest mental "hardship" to make it through eating those! :) Too bad I cannot eat beef. :) Abigail

DEB said...

Now, be honest--it was not nearly as bad as you thought! I have made it and just sliced it, but I do hate taking the skin off! You know, you can feed the organ meats to your pets, or even cook it up with some grains and feed it to the chickens. Not appealing to those who think that chickens are vegetarians, but they would love it!
Deb from WI, Abigail's MIL