Beef tongue tacos! Lengua por favor! I love tacos and enjoy beef tongue for its more mild flavor, soft but not mushy (if cooked right) texture and that its presence on a menu often means more authentic origins. I will say that cow tongues are a bit unsightly but all the more reason, to take a chance, surprise yourself and not waste. You can find it in well-stock grocers, hispanic focused stores, butchers or if you order meat farm-direct. There are lots of variations out there in terms of spices, I used the combination at macheesmo.com for inspo. Tongue also does well in a slow cooker or low and slow on the stovetop but this post is about reducing taco lead time without sacrificing flavor or texture. Note this post futures full frontal beef tongue. Don’t want to see it? Don’t scroll.
- 3 -4 pound beef tongue
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 1 head of garlic (no joke), pealed and cloves slightly smashed
- 4 bay leaves
- 3-4 dried ancho or chipotle peppers
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
- sprig or two of fresh cilantro
Saute and Simmer
- Medium bell pepper, yellow, red or green, seeded and diced
- 1/2 to 1 cup chopped tomato, or halved cherry tomato
- half a white onion chopped (if short on onions you can use some from the pressure cooker step)
- Chile flakes if you want some heat
- Olive or avocado oil
- Radish, cilantro, white onion, diced tomato, avocado, lime wedges, cojita cheese, salsa, beans etc
- Tortilla or chips
- In pressure cooker put the onion quarters, garlic, bay leaves, dried peppers, peppercorn, cumin, beef tongue and shredded cilantro. Cover with contents with water.
- Following your pot’s directions, bring it to 10-15 psi and let it cook from 30 minutes. Then let the pressure release normal/natural (not quick) for about ten minutes. You can prep the bell pepper and taco toppings during this time.
- While pressure is reducing, get an ice bath ready for beef tongue. Shocking it in ice water will make it easier to peel. Yes, you must peel.
- Remove the tongue, give it an ice plunge and then place on a cutting board. You need to peel and remove the skin. This should not be too hard to do. Also you need to trim away the tough chewy muscle on the underside of tongue. Feel your own tongue to get an idea. Also, there were some visible taste buds after peeling towards the tip, I. removed those too, for people that might not want to see them.
- Reserve about a 1/2 cup of the broth from pressure cooker
- Slice the tongue in about 1/2 slices and then dice. Set aside.
- Add a tablespoon or so of oil to a sauce pan. Add bell pepper, tomato and additional half of onion diced. I also roughly chopped the dried ancho from the pressure cooker broth and added to this pan. Just remove before serving.Sauté for a few minutes. Then add the beef tongue, chili flakes or other seasonings and broth. Let simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. The liquid should reduce and flavors mingle. Add salt to your taste.
- It is now ready to serve with tortillas and toppings.
This tongue is from the same cow that gave us this heart to make dog treats, among many other beef dishes.