Photo: vauvau (flickr)
How I Cooked A Whole Cow
Well, at least two halves. I order my grass-fed beef one half of a cow at a time. So along with the filet mignon and the flank steak, I have to work with tongue, heart, and tons of stew meat before I can order another.
I exhausted all the more familiar cuts: seared tenderloin with crawfish butter sauce, Italian meatball soup, t-bone steaks with local crimini mushrooms and thyme, lime marinated flank served over local rice and beans.
I now have to begin the trek into unfamiliar territory.
Starting With The Tongue
When I am preparing to cook something for the first time I generally consult the experts in this order: The Joy of Cooking, the internet, then I browse my cook book collection (or the public library) for more ideas. I find it best to get a good cross-section of recipes before I move forward.
In each one of these places I found the same basic structure information: the tongue is tough, the skin is almost inedible, and it is incredibly versatile as long as you cook it to tender.
Knowing that people would have a hard time wrapping their heads around tongue, I pursued a dish I called tongue pot roast, trying to put it in a frame of reference that most folks would be comfortable with. This pot roast began with a long simmer in aromatic water (infused with black peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic cloves) to both soften the tongue and remove the skin, with. I then peeled the skin off and chopped the tongue up into little pieces.
In a pan, I sautéed onions, garlic, and carrots – added the pieces of tongue and some dark beef stock. I cooked this more until everything was nice and tender and added a flour slurry (cold water and flour) to thicken the liquid into a gravy consistency.
Beef Tongue Pot Roast
- One beef tongue
- 10 black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 carrots, peeled and cut into inch long pieces
- 1 head celery, trimmed and chopped
- 8 cups beef stock (“Better than Bouillon” base is a good substitute)
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup tepid water
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place whole tongue in a sauce pan or stock pot. Cover with water and add peppercorns, bay leaf, and whole garlic cloves. Simmer for at least two hours, until a knife easily slides in.
- Remove tongue from pot and put into ice water. This will make it easy to peel.
- Remove the skin and cut the tongue into bite size pieces.
- In a new stock pot, place the olive oil and onions on medium heat. Cook until soft. Add carrots and celery. Cook for two minutes.
- Add tongue and stock. Simmer until tongue is nice and tender, probably about 30 minutes.
- Place water and flour into a small bowl and mix till combined. Add slowly to simmering broth and stir continually. Cook for five more minutes to remove the flour taste.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve over mashed potatoes. Serves 6.