We have gray skies in Columbus today similar to the bewildered look I was given by Dawn when I suggested we make braised beef tongue. The idea of consuming a cow’s tongue sounds less than appealing in itself, yet the potential for new directions and new ingredients always urges me on. It did take several days of convincing for her to accept the idea that beef tongue could be one of her new favorite red meats; but, finally after mentioning acclaimed chefs such as Wylie Dufresne and others who choose to use this cut of meat, not from necessity but by choice, she finally agreed. That, and I told her I would bring her to a nice restaurant if it did not turn out as planned.
Braising this piece of meat is a lengthy task although it can be accomplished with somewhat diligent attention. The tongue I prepared was not wholly braised in the traditional or French sense of the term since the meat is not seared before liquid is added. I skipped this step because you remove the outer layer of skin after cooking to reveal an incredibly succulent and rich portion of meat that will transform the way you think about less customary meats.
I began with sautéing our enhanced mirepoix mix as I like to call it. If you are not privy to what this mix may be, now you will know. It consists of the traditional mirepoix combination of onions, celery, and carrots along the addition of shallots and garlic. Shallots, garlic, and onions are truly a potent combination if they are in the right place at the right time. After a few minutes of sautéing, the tongue is added along with beef stock and sprigs of parsley. After about four hours and some dissection, you have the finished product, and one I might add you will be proud to have on your plate.
Dawn also added some amazing roasted broccoli to the menu which will become a staple in our house; a staple not only due to the ease of the dish but also because of its versatility. I’m usually not a huge fan of broccoli, but I was intrigued by the the amazing texture and rich garlic taste Dawn described and so I consented. With its aioli marinade that lingers throughout the crunchy florets, the recipe was not only delicious but will be quite handy. We also made a loaf of Irish Soda Bread to go with the meal; however, this recipe will come at a later date.
Braised Beef Tongue
2-3 # Beef Tongue soaked for one day if possible, in cold water with salt, changing water every few hours
6 cloves garlic diced
2 shallot lobes diced
1 medium onion diced
1 carrot diced
1 stalk celery diced
4 C. Beef stock
1 C. dry red wine
Sauté all vegetables three to five minutes or until softened in large stockpot. Add beef tongue, stock, and red wine and bring liquid to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover, cooking for approximately 4 hours or until fork tender. Remove from pot and remove outer layer of skin. Slice into desired thickness.
Some liquid can be transferred to another pan and reduced to make a thicker sauce for the meat. Or, one and a half cups of liquid can be added to one tablespoon horseradish, one tablespoon capers (unwashed), and one tablespoon lemon juice to create a sauce for the meat.
Dawn’s Roasted Broccoli (Adapted from The Wednesday Chef)
1 Large Head Broccoli Cut Into Florets
1/4 Cup Chopped Onion
3-4 Whole Cloves of Garlic, Peeled.
¼ Cup Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to Season
1.Preheat Oven to 425. Line roasting pan with aluminum foil for easy clean up and coat with oil to prevent sticking.
2. Blend garlic and olive oil in food processor or I use my Magic Bullet.
3.Toss broccoli and onion with garlic and oil and allow to marinate, the longer the better I say. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
4.When you’re ready, place broccoli and onion in single layer on a roasting pan and cook. After ten minutes, stir making sure to turn most florets over, and roast for another 8-10 minutes.
5.When the broccoli’s done, you should have bright green florets with an array of dark charred spots, kind of like this. Enjoy!