Beef Tongue Tacos
DISCLAIMER: This recipe is not for the faint of heart or stomach.
For those of you still with me, here's the deal: these tongue tacos turned out really good — even the significant other said, 'Yeah, we should make these again,' after eating four tacos!
But this recipe is not like your typical no-idea-what-to-do-for-dinner-so-lets-make-tacos recipe. It's time consuming and labor intensive, but the payoff is delicious! The tongue turns out really tender, like a tender roast, and doesn't resemble tongue at all once you take the skin off (spoiler alert - there's skinning involved.)
The idea of making anything with tongue takes me back to elementary school when we read 'Ramona Quimby, Age 8.' Anyone else appreciating this blast from the past? The Quimby parents made beef tongue for dinner and the kids said, 'No way are we eating that! You can see the taste buds!'
Even then, I was curious enough to ask my mom to make tongue for dinner sometime. I seem to remember her loudly refusing.
So, if I haven't scared you off yet, let's get started.
This recipe, Beef Tacos de Lengua from Simply Recipes, is pretty easy to follow and includes a recipe for homemade salsa verde, which ended up being so good I just wanted to eat it with a spoon.
Beef Tacos de Lengua
• 1 beef tongue, 3-4 lbs., from 1907 Meat Co. (Mine was closer to 1.5 lbs, but it worked out fine).
• 2 large onions, peeled and chopped
• Cloves from 1 head of garlic, peeled and crushed (you could also use prepared minced garlic, about 3 tablespoons).
• 6-7 bay leaves.
• 1 tablespoon black peppercorns.
• 2 tablespoons salt.
• Vegetable oil.
• Corn tortillas, 2-3 per person.
• Salsa Verde (prepared, or see recipe below).
• Your favorite taco toppings, including avocado, cilantro, chopped red onion, thinly sliced radishes, cheese, etc.
There are two options for cooking the tongue, depending on how much time you have: stove top or crock pot.
Rinse beef tongue under cold water.
Place onions, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, salt and beef tongue in large stock pot or slow cooker and cover with water. Boil for 3 hours, or slow cook on low for 8 hours. I did mine in the slow cooker while I went to work. The house smelled great when I got home!
Remove tongue from water and allow to cool enough to touch. Using a knife (or your hands if you want), peel off the firm outer skin — with the taste buds and everything — and discard. I found that mine had a second, softer layer that I had to scrape off.
The rough part where the tongue attaches to the throat is edible, but I ended up cutting it off.
Slice the tongue into 1/2-inch rounds and then quarter the rounds (or cut however you want — they're your tacos!).
Heat some oil in a skillet and place tongue pieces in a single layer, making sure not to crowd them too closely. I should have used a non-stick skillet because the tongue ended up sticking to my cast iron. Brown the tongue on all sides.
Heat tortillas in a skillet or microwave.
Construct your tacos!
• 1 lb. tomatillos.
• 1/3 cup chopped onion.
• 1/4 cup fresh cilantro.
• 2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice.
• 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, chopped (leave the seeds in for some extra spice!)
• 1 teaspoon salt.
Remove husks from tomatillos, place in pan and cover with water. Simmer 5-10 minutes, until cooked through.
Place tomatillos, onion, cilantro, juice, pepper and salt in a blender or food processor and pulse until combined.
I'm never buying salsa verde again!
Sally Asher is the Communications Coordinator at 1907 Meat Co.