On offer for the party today, I have tacos de lengua. They sound much more attractive in Spanish, since tacos de lengua means tongue tacos. And they are delicious – no really!
Tongue is one of my most favourite things to eat. I think many people have childhood memories of tongue being chewy and tough, but when it’s cooked properly tongue becomes tender and rich, with a wonderful buttery texture.
For these tacos, I cooked a whole tongue in water until it was soft. When it was tender, the diced meat was fried with onions, (rather a lot of) garlic, red and green capsicum, as well as cumin, paprika and cayenne pepper. After that I stirred through some chopped up coriander and served them in home made tortillas. The seasoned tongue was spicy and tender, and the home made tortillas were definitely worth the effort.
Although to tell the truth, there wasn’t that much effort in making the tortillas – they were easy! The dough was basically just masa harina (maize corn flour) and warm water. I don’t own a tortilla press, so I improvised by flattening golf ball sized balls of dough with a large cookbook (The Cook’s Companion!) and then thinning out the circles even further with a rolling pin. This helped keep the tortillas round(ish). Next time I’ll add a pinch of salt to the tortilla dough, but a warm tortilla straight out of the frying pan was bliss. And they taste like corn chips! Amazing.
After the tongue had been cooked and diced, it looked like any other meat – except more delicious! Alastair, who doesn’t really like tongue, tried a taco and he seemed to enjoy it (don’t worry, he didn’t miss out completely – I made a pork version for him to eat. What a good wife.). If you’re not a tongue lover, I hope that I may have inspired you to give it a go. And if not, well I guess that just means there’s more for me!
Check out the other attendees to the party below:
Tacos de lengua – tongue tacos
Makes rather a lot – serves 4-6?
1 cow/ox tongue
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, roughly crushed
10 peppercorns, roughly crushed
1 onion, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 red capsicum, diced
1 green capsicum, diced
1 chili, diced
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
1 bunch coriander, well washed
A packet of tortillas – or make your own!
Place the tongue in a large pot and cover with water. Add the onion, garlic, pepper and salt. Cover the pot, bring the water to a boil, and then turn down to a simmer. Cook for the tongue for several hours, or until it is soft (I did mine in a thermal pot overnight, so am not sure how long it would take on the stove. You can tell when it’s soft if you can stick a chopstick into it easily!)
Remove the tongue from the liquid and set aside to cool. Peel the thick skin off the tongue, and dice the meat into cubes.
Heat some oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions, and cook until soft. Turn up the heat and add the diced capsicum, the diced tongue, and the spices. Season with salt and pepper and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir through the chopped coriander.
Build the tacos by placing the meat mixture into a tortilla and serve with a squeeze of lemon/lime juice.