Tongue

Tongue

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From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

Smooth, richly flavoured tongue, sold fresh, salted or smoked, is one of the best of cold meats and is excellent served hot with a piquant sauce. Cooked, sliced tongue can be crumbed and fried or it can be used in hearty savoury dishes. Tinned tongues (usually lamb) are a useful store-cupboard item, and are especially popular with the elderly because they are easy to eat and can be bought in small tins.

Ox, calf and lamb tongues are available; pig tongue is usually available with the head. Whatever the variety, smaller tongues are usually better than larger; for prime texture, an ox tongue should be under 1.5 kg. Fresh or salted tongues should be soft to the touch; smoked tongue should be firm but not hard.

Basic preparation: If salted or smoked tongue has been heavily salted (ask the butcher), it must be blanched before cooking. Cover with cold water, bring very slowly to the boil and drain.

To cook: Place tongue (fresh, salted or smoked) in a saucepan and cover with cold water. For 1 ox tongue or 6–8 lamb tongues, add 6 whole allspice, 6 cloves, 6 black peppercorns, 1 bouquet garni, 1 sliced onion, 1 sliced carrot and 1 sliced celery stalk. Add 1½ teaspoons salt if cooking fresh tongue. Bring slowly to the boil, skim the surface and simmer, covered, for about 3 hours for ox tongue and 1–1½ hours for lamb tongues.

The boiled tongue is cooked when one of the small bones near the root end can be easily pulled out. Cool in liquid until cool enough to handle, then take tongue out, remove remaining bones and trim off root. Slit underside of skin and remove. Skin should come off easily if you push thumbs underneath it to ease edges, then peel off. Tongue is then finished as the recipe directs.

To carve: Cut ox or calf tongue into slices straight across starting from the thickest part. Towards the thin end, change direction to carve diagonal slices. Carve lamb tongues in long diagonal slices. Carve pressed tongue in thin slices across the top.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

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