Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Braised Grassfed Lengua with Cabbage and Tessamaes Hot Sauce



So remember when I went on a rant about the whole Sally Fallon WAPF thing and bragged about my grassfed cow tounge in my freezer? Well I guess it was time this week to step up to the plate and cook the damn thing.

I first heard of "lengua" when I was in culinary school. One of my classmates was Mexican, and she told us about how eating tongue was popular in most Central and South American countries. She shared this tidbit while we were in Meat Fabrication class, and most of the class balked at the idea of eating tongue. She claimed that when it was prepared properly, it tasted just like roast beef. Well, I really like roast beef, so I thought, "What the hell, I'll try it at least once!"

Her family owned a string of authentic Mexican restaurants in Atlanta, and she said that Tacos de Lengua was not only on their menu, but a very popular item. She offered to cook a tongue, and then bring it in to show us how it was done.

She didn't go into detail about her family's secret recipe, but I remember her saying that it braised for a long time. She brought it in after it was cooked and then she taught us how to slice through the outer layer, and peel off the taste buds. She said, "You know, just like a plantain." I know you are thinking what I thought at the time. A plantain doesn't have freaking taste buds! You are expecting me to eat that?!? Well, I had to prove that I was man enough, or well, woman enough to eat tongue, and what I found was that she was completely right. Lengua does taste exactly like extremely rich and moist roast beef.

Fast forward many years later and I find myself trying to include more offal into my Paleo diet. I walked into Virginia Organic Garden Grocery, where they have a whole cooler full of Polyface grassfed and pastured meats, and a little sign above it saying, "We also have tongue and other organ meats in our back up cooler. If you are interested, please ask us at the register." So of course I did. I came home with a huge freaking TONGUE, and promptly stuck it in my freezer. There it sat for a few weeks. After I made a batch of especially delicious bone broth, Ian looked at me and said, "It's time to cook that tongue."

So here is what I did:

Braised Grassfed Cow Tongue

Ingredients:
1 grassfed cow tongue
8 cups of stock, preferably homemade (any kind will do, I used chicken stock, but you could also use pork or beef stock as well)
1 onion, any variety, halved
3 stalks of organic celery, chunked
3 organic carrots, chunked
1 head of garlic, cut in half 
2 tablespoons of sea salt
2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon paparika
2 teaspoons of chili powder
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
2 teaspoons of ground corriander
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
4 bay leaves

Instructions:

1. Place all of the veggies and seasoning in a large dutch oven. I used my trusty Le Crueset.
2. Place the thawed tongue on top, and fill the pot with the stock.
3. Braise in the oven at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-9 hours. I put mine in the oven when I was headed to bed.
4. When you wake up in the morning, take the dutch oven out of the oven, and then place on a trivet in your fridge to cool. I left it there to cool all day while I was at work.



*** I bet you could do all of this in a crock pot, but I don't know because I don't have one. But I really bet it would work just the same. Just try it on low for the same amount of time, and please leave a comment if you try it in your crock pot and it works!***


Ok, now you've got your cooked and cooled tongue. Next, put your big girl panties on, and prepare to peel that tongue. You can do it, I promise. It builds character, and you will feel awesome for conquering your fear of the unknown.

So next, do just what my Mexican friend suggested, and treat it like a plantain. Using a paring knife, slit it lengthwise through the outer layer, and peel off that layer along with those icky taste buds. Underneath you will find BEAUTIFUL braised meat, that looks just like roast beef. Shred that and either set it aside, or store it until you are ready to cook dinner.




Now you are certainly welcome to use your shredded lengua and make tacos, but I had something else in mind. My MIL loves ground beef sauteed with cabbage, onions and drizzled with hot sauce. It's crazy simple, and also INCREDIBLY good. Doesn't sound like it would be, and certainly doesn't look like anything special, but it is really good. So I decided to step that idea up with my freshly braised tongue. I also decided to add some carrot ribbons to the dish for a few carbs, and for a little color. To make carrot ribbons, use your peeler to peel your carrot... and just keep on going with the peeler. Super easy, and no fancy tools required.




Braised Grassfed Lengua with Cabbage and Tessamaes Hot Sauce
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 braised grassfed cow tongue, shredded
1 organic head of cabbage, with the core removed, and sliced into shreds
1 red onion, juliened
4 organic carrots, ribboned (see above)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of grassfed butter (like Kerrygold)
2 tablespoons of lard, or other healthy fat
salt and pepper to taste
Tessamaes Hot Sauce to taste

Directions:

1. Melt one tablespoon each of butter and lard in a very large skillet, or cast iron pan. Brown the onions on medium high for 5 minutes, and season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
2. Add the carrot ribbons to the pan, season again and cook for another 5 minutes.
3. Add the shredded cabbage, season with a LARGE pinch of salt, some pepper, and cook for about 10-15 minutes, until the cabbage has wilted and has started to brown.
4. Push all the veggies to the side, and add the rest of the butter and lard to the empty side of the pan. Once melted and bubbling, add the braised tongue and saute to heat the tongue through, and also to caramelize just a bit, about 3-5 minutes. 
5. Mix together the veggies and the tongue, and add the minced garlic and continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes until the garlic is cooked and fragrant.
6. Serve up this delicious, albiet seemingly humble and odd dish with a drizzle of your favorite hot sauce. I have recently took the plunge and jumped on the bandwagon and bought Tessamaes (sold at Whole Foods), and I highly recommend it! Not only is it Paleo friendly, but it is really tasty on any number of foods, from wings to eggs to lengua.

So there you have it! My take on tongue. Moral of the story? It's delicious and nutritious, so just man up and try it already. Ok, now I have to go to spend time with my man. I've neglected him long enough to share this recipe with ya'll, but even he agrees that it is the stuff that crazy dreams are made of, and it had to be shared. So man up and eat up, yo.




2 comments:

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