Friday, September 28, 2012

Beef Tongue With Tomatoes

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Beef tongue with tomatoes served on creamy polenta and topped with freshly crumbled cotija cheese
Beef tongue with tomatoes served on creamy polenta
and topped with freshly crumbled cotija cheese

It was difficult to narrow down to one recipe for the next part of the Muy Bueno Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-Off sponsored by Hippocrene and hosted at girlichef.  The Muy Bueno Cookbook is full of so many fantastic choices with a large variety to choose from. Drinks, salsas, soups, sides, desserts - just to name some of the great chapters.  Oddly enough what made the decision easier was when Peter found out that our favorite taco stand had closed down.  They had some of the best authentic tacos and other Mexican specialties made with a lot of love and I knew I had to see if  I could recreate even one of their dishes at home.

I have mentioned in the past how adventurous an eater Peter is and how he has helped me grow into one too.  When he found this very tiny taco joint that made a ton of authentic dishes that use all parts of the animal he was thrilled.  Once I got past any nose wrinkling I mistakenly did at first I realized he was right.  All of their wonderful creations were so good.  I also knew with my cooking background I had no idea how to reproduce any of it at home.

Recipe page from the Muy Bueno Cookbook -- a feast for your eyes
Recipe page from the Muy Bueno Cookbook -- a feast for your eyes
Then I spotted the beef tongue with tomato recipe in the Muy Bueno Cookbook and I knew I had found a match.  Beef tongue is not sold in my everyday grocery store but the butcher we regularly use was able to order some for me.  With that hurdle down, the next was to actually cook it.

It is challenging to get past built-in prejudices when you are cooking with tongue, I won't skimp over that lightly.  I kept telling myself that this animal gave its life to feed us so learning how to use all of the parts is a lost art for many of us and I needed to just buck up, as Peter would say.  Being able to cook the tongue in the crock pot in a set it and forget it mode helped a lot too.

The end result is a dish that is tender, flavorful, rich and delicious.  It was definitely challenging but I am so glad I had a trusted source in Muy Bueno to guide me through it because beef tongue with tomatoes will make even the loudest skeptic say yum.

Full disclosure - I received a free copy of the cookbook for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

Beef Tongue With Tomatoes
Learning to cook all of the edible parts of an animal is a lost art form. This dish show you how to cook with beef tongue and gives you a wonderful meal in return.
  • Tongue Preparation
  • 2 1/2 to 3 lbs beef tongue
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp sea salt (I used kosher salt)
  • Sauce
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can peeled or diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped white onion
  • 1 Tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  1. Preparing the beef tongue can be done a day ahead of time. Rinse the beef tongue well, then place it into your crock pot. Add in the water, small onion, garlic cloves and sea salt. Cover and cook on low for 6 - 8 hours, turning the tongue mid-way through.
  2. Once the tongue is very tender remove it from the stock and let it cool enough that you can handle it easily. Peel off the outer layer of skin - this is easier to do when the tongue is still warm. Dice the tongue into 1/2 inch cubes and set aside. If you are making this the night before, store the diced tongue in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  3. Strain the stock and let it cool for an hour or so. Skim off as much fat as possible then set aside. If you are making this the night before, store the strained stock in an airtight container in the refrigerator.The final preparation comes together quickly, so make sure the rest of your meal is ready to go first. Puree the tomatoes in a food processor or blender and set aside.In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium flame. Add the onions and saute them until they are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add in the flour and stir for 2 minutes. Add in the pureed tomatoes and bring up to a boil, stirring constantly.
  4. Once the tomato mixture is boiling add in the diced tongue, 1/2 cup of the stock, black pepper and garlic powder. Simmer this gently for 5 minutes, or until it has thickened to your liking. You can add more stock if you like but if you are serving this as a filling you will want to keep it on the thicker side.
  5. Beef tongue with tomatoes is now ready to eat. Enjoy!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 3 - 4 cups