Monday, July 3, 2017

How to cook beef tongue, Part 2: Lengua a la Mexicana

Part two of a three part series on how to cook a 5-pound beef tongue for three different Mexican dishes


Even though I'm Hispanic, the only time we heard Spanish in the house while I was growing up was when either set of grandparents came over. Being third generation, none of us girls learned how to speak the language. I was around it enough to get the gist of a conversation when I hear it and I can use some high school Spanish to try stumbling through reading the language but I really do suck at it. I’ve picked up a little more over the years watching Spanish cooking shows where I can associate the picture of an onion or celery or pork chop with the word as it’s being said. Well, that and living with my Grandmother these past four years but mostly, she speaks to me 50% of the time in Spanish, 50% in English and I answer her 100% of the time in English because my recall and accent are terrible. The reason I mention all of this is because this dish today is another one of my father’s signature dishes and even though I’m calling it by it’s Spanish name, my dad would never refer to it as this. This is simply tongue with tomatoes, onions and cilantro just like the lengua tortas last week that he calls tongue sandwiches.

Food growing up was a mix of American, Italian and Mexican cuisines as Dad used to cook for a living. But the Mexican dishes were often called by their American names, not Spanish. Learning the names of the dishes in Spanish from research and from my Grandmother, has been a quest of mine since I started sharing my and my family's recipes here with you.


Back to today’s recipe. When a dish is appended with “a la Mexicana,” it usually means the aromatics used are the same ingredients used in basic salsa (aka, pico de gallo) which also happens to be the colors of the Mexican flag. 


We have chopped jalapeño and cilantro (green), onions (white) and tomatoes (red). So that’s why I’m calling this dish Lengua a la Mexicana.


The onions get sautéed until softened.


Then the jalapeño and the tomatoes join the party.


Next comes the saved broth from cooking the tongue. Any fat will have risen to the surface and hardened. You can easily discard it before pouring it into the measuring cup.


Stir in the cilantro. Don't bother removing the leaves from the stems when chopping the cilantro. Just scrunch it all up in a ball and run the knife through, chopping it all together. As my dad says, the stems have tons of flavor and since it's cooking, they will soften up.


Next you'll add ⅓ of the tongue, thinly sliced and cook until heated through. That's it! Easy peasy  and totally delicious.

Until next time!
xo, ani


Lengua a la Mexicana


This is part 2 of the series on getting three different dishes out of one 5-pound beef tongue. For directions on how to cook the tongue, see this post. Also, my dad's original recipe doesn't include jalapeño. Feel free to leave out if you are not a fan.

1 tablespoon canola oil
½ medium onion, thinly sliced in half moons
2 large roma tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeds removed then finely diced
2 cups leftover broth from cooking the tongue
pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon whole Mexican oregano
½ bunch cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon beef bouillon, such as Knorrs
⅓ of the cooked tongue from last week, thinly sliced

To serve:
cooked rice or grain of your choice (I used plain short grain brown rice), chopped cilantro, corn tortillas

Heat a 10-inch skillet on medium-high heat, add the oil. When shimmering, add the onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes until the onions are softened and begin to become translucent. Stir in the tomatoes and onions and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in the broth, add the salt and stir to combine. Put the oregano in the palm of your hand, then rub your hands together over the pan, crushing the oregano while adding it to the mixture. Stir in the cilantro and the bouillon; taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt if needed. Add the sliced tongue to the pan and heat through. Serve over rice or stuffed into tortillas for tacos. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.


Go here for part 1 of this series: how to cook tongue and make chile colorado tortas


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