Friends of mine recently went in for a half share of beef. And then a few months later the couple brought a third into their household – only the new person was vegetarian and had trouble with meat just being cooked in the same room.
It helps that I like the person, but I’d be excited anyway because this is bringing a lot of free beef into my life.
It’s also bringing the weird beef into my life. For some reason half of a cow (or steer, I suppose) yielded 2 tongues. I don’t know.
I knew exactly what I wanted to do with this tongue – I wanted to cure it and slice it thinly onto sandwiches. Only I don’t own pink salt, and I didn’t have any other plans for the huge amount I’d have left over. And basically, it was going to end up procrastinated for months taking up space in my freezer.
So I started looking for more options, and happened upon Tacos de Lingas. Woot! Just slow braising the tongue until it reaches joy.
I followed the recipe pretty closely to start, and I put into my soup pot
- 1 frozen tongue
- 1 onion, diced
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- plenty of water to cover
- and I just added a little sprinkle of salt
And here’s why I skimped on the salt. You see, I’ve just recently written up my recipe for carnitas, and I figured that if I cooked all the liquid out and ended up with something shredded, that would be delicious and would have flavors so concentrated that I’d want to wait on correcting the salt until later.
So I cooked it down until the meat was cooked through, and I took it out to slice into 1″ this rounds, to break up the grain. I also peeled the tongue… to discover that even right underneath the thick skin/membrane there was the same rough tongue texture. So I ended up cutting off the skin, instead of peeling, so that I’d get below the texture.
All back in the pot, and I cooked until there was very little liquid left. Then I poked the meat with a wooden fork – and it didn’t shred. So I added half a pot of water and started cooking it down again, poking occasionally as I went.
Still not shredding.
I tasted the meat, and it was okay, but it could use a little more flavor. So I added some wine. And some ground oregano and black pepper.
Cooked down until there was very little liquid, and it still wasn’t shredding.
So I added a pot full of water again, and about quarter of a cup of balsamic vinegar and another quarter of a cup of red wine vinegar.
By the time this cooked down again (let’s say the total is about 14 hours over a few days), the meat still wasn’t shredding, but it had the lose give of good pot roast. So I declared it done.
Pulled out the meat, and I had about a cup of liquid left behind. I corrected the seasonings (mostly with salt and a bit of pepper), and I starting sifting whole wheat flout into it gradually. About 2 teaspoons later, I had a good dark broth. I remembered that I had some water hanging out in my fridge from reconstituting some dried mushrooms, so I added that, too – it added a nice flavor, but was totally optional.
And then I forgot about the tacos, and I had it over leftover cooked brown rice with gravy.