Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Beef Tongue Pot Roast: An Introduction To Organ Meats

Never cooked with beef tongue before? Don't be nervous! Insert it into a familiar recipe, like this pot roast.

beef tongue stew

Photo: vauvau (flickr)

A ladle of this on some creamy mashed potatoes and I had won the hearts of many diners, and I suppose their tongues, too.

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.

Familiar Tastes

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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Method:

  1. 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.
  2. Remove tongue from pot and put into ice water. This will make it easy to peel.
  3. Remove the skin and cut the tongue into bite size pieces.
  4. 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.
  5. Add tongue and stock. Simmer until tongue is nice and tender, probably about 30 minutes.
  6. 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.
  7. Season with salt and pepper and serve over mashed potatoes. Serves 6.
Clara Moore

Clara Moore is a chef from St. Louis finding her way in Seattle, one plate of food at a time. She lives in a cedar cabin in the woods and cooks at home a lot more now than ever before.

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  • IdahoConstitutionist

    As a kid we ate tongue a LOT. My mom would put little slits in the tongue and shove in peppercorns, put it in a pressure cooker and cook it. Then she would take the tip of the tongue off and we had to remember whose turn it was to “get the tip” (with 7 kids there was a lot of arguing over it). She would slice it up and make sandwichs with it usually or cube it and make potato hash. To this day, all of us still like tongue, liver and heart. I don't buy tongue because it is outrageously expensive! The next tongue I will get will hopefully be this summer when my Jersey steer is ready to butcher! :D

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