Tongue gets a bad rap. It has the reputation of being scary, intimidating and “yuck”. In reality though it is just a misunderstood and neglected food from the wrong side of the track. It’s fascinating to talk to butchers and hear how the cuts we prize here in America are considered low quality – while the cuts we hide from are greatly prized by cultures that understand how to properly prepare and honor them. So with that in mind, I challenge you to try something new. Expand your horizon. Lengua Tacos is an awesome place to start! (Seriously- how can anyone not love tacos?) I’m not calling these lengua tacos- because honestly this is my own rendition. Whether close to traditional- or far away, I have no idea. What I do know is how terribly disappointed I am that there were no leftovers.
To make awesome tongue tacos –
Parcook the tongue. This means you actually cook the tongue before you cook it for the recipe. This is all hands off time- and the crockpot works perfect for this step.
Remove tongue and set on cutting board to cool slightly. Strain broth and reserve for another day. This broth taste amazing. It’s awesome in soups, or used to cook rice for tex mex dishes. Sometimes I just sip it when I want something warm.
Peel the tongue, slice and then chop. If you don’t know how to do that- here is an instructional video
Heat up a heavy pan- cast iron is my preference with your cooking fat. Add the chopped tongue and start to saute. Do not stir often. Your goal is to get the outsides nice and crispy and caramelized for the tacos. Once all sides are nice and crispy you are ready to assemble your tacos!
For the parcook:
- 1 beef tongue – rinsed
- 1 head of cilantro rinsed and cut in thirds
- 1 onion – quartered
- 3 cloves of garlic – smashed
- 1 quart of water
For the tacos:
- lard, coconut oil, or other stable cooking fat
- corn tortillas
- pico de gallo
- sour cream
- tomatilla salsa
- Rinse the tongue and place in a crock pot with all parcooking ingredients. Place on low and cook for 8 hours. Alternatively you can cook in a dutch oven and at 325 degrees F for 4 hours.
- Remove tongue and set on cutting board to cool slightly. Strain broth and reserve for another project.
- Peel the tongue, slice and then chop.
- Heat up a cast iron with your cooking fat. Add the chopped tongue and start to saute. Do not stir often. Once crispy on all sides- make the tacos!
- Wrap in a warmed corn tortilla and top as desired-you’ll love it!