Growing up one typically has several friends, family members and/or teachers who become a huge part of their lives and help mold and shape them into respectable members of the community. Being the rigid and hard headed individual that I am and was, I only had a few who were willing to step up to the plate; most of which had to because we were related. To those individuals who did have the courage to step up on my behalf; well………..“you should be ashamed of yourselves”. Have you seen how I turned out???? Crap Fire.
As things go, Uncle Dave and I tend to see eye to eye. We are both fairly rigid in our ways, we both are quite stubbourn and I can’t recall a time when either of us were wrong about anything……..that was until recently.
See, Uncle Dave has a very unique and distinctive palette; a palette most would at times question. And question I must. On a recent visit to The Lake, Uncle Dave approached me with a challenge. “Boy”, that is how he refers to me even though I am a grown man; probably has something to do with my mental capacity. “Boy”, he says, “I want you to come up with a good recipe for beef tongue”. “You want me to what”? “I said, I want you to come up with a good recipe for beef tongue.” Looking like a deer in headlights, I pondered the thought. After a long pause I said, “Are you sure?” “Hell yes I am sure. I want me some beef tongue.” Needless to say, I was and still am a bit taken back.
Being an aficionado of Cajun cuisine, I have cooked many questionable things, but beef tongue is just not in my food paradigm. In the infamous words of Grandma Dot “Jeez O’flip”.
Not one to shy away from a good challenge and not one to let down a man who has meant so much to me, I have searched long and hard to come up with a “good” way to approach this challenge. Without further ado, here is my “twisted” creation for this unique delicacy.
2 qt hot water
2 qt ice water
1 c kosher salt
½ c brown sugar
2 T thyme
3 bay leaves
1 garlic head, halved
1 yellow onion, quartered
1 beef or ox tongue
4 T Canola Oil
6 slices bacon, chopped
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 rib celery, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
2 c balsamic vinegar
32 oz chicken stock
1 head garlic, halved
3 bay leaves
1 thyme and rosemary bundle*
1 T black peppercorns
* Take 4 or 5 fresh thyme sprigs, 2 or 3 fresh rosemary springs and tie them together with butcher’s twine.
In a 6 Qt plastic container, add hot water, salt, brown sugar, thyme, garlic, bay leaves and onion. Stir until salt and sugar dissolve. Add cold water and tongue. Place a bowl upside down on top of tongue, so that the tongue remains submerged. Refrigerate 24 to 48 hours.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Bring a large Dutch oven filled with water to a boil. Place tongue in boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Remove tongue and allow to cool. Discard water in Dutch oven and rinse/dry thoroughly. With a sharp knife, remove rough outer layer of tongue and seasoning with salt and pepper. Next, add 2 T of oil to Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Add tongue and brown on all sides. Remove tongue and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium and add bacon. Once bacon has cooked, add onions, carrots and celery and cook for about 7 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 1 minute. Deglaze pan with balsamic vinegar and reduce liquid by half. Place tongue on top and add enough chicken stock to cover meat. Add bay leaves and thyme/rosemary bundle, cover with lid and place in oven for 3 to 4 hours. Once tongue is cooked tender, set aside and allow it to rest for 5 minutes.
Next, skim off the fat from cooking liquid and place Dutch oven on the stove over medium-high heat. Reduce liquid by about half, leaving just enough sauce and vegetable to spoon over the top of the meat and garlic mash.
To serve, slice tongue, place meat on top of garlic mash and spoon vegetables/sauce over the top.
1 head garlic
1 t olive oil
6 large Yukon gold potatoes
1 stick butter
1 c cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Slice the top off a garlic head and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, wrap in foil and roast in the oven for about 1 hour.
Fill a large saucepan with water, add a few pinches of salt and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until just fork tender. Drain off the water, leaving the potatoes in the pot.
Add the butter and cream to the potatoes and mash.
Remove the garlic from the oven. Squeeze the garlic cloves into the potatoes and stir. Season potatoes with salt and pepper, if desired.
Twisted Epilogue: Let it be known, for the first time in my life, I was wrong. Beef tongue looks quite foul, but if you can get past looks, it is pretty damn good. Uncle Dave, I am sorry I ever questioned you.