Saturday, May 26, 2018

Tongue Tacos

Amazing, remarkable, deLISHHH!! 
Tacos de Lengua..or  Tongue Tacos
By Ric Orlando

You are at the Farmer's market.
You want to buy local beef. 
You want to be true to the snout to tail concept.
Yes, you want to be a a member of the sustainable food movement.
You see that beef tongue? 
Many people squirm when they even think about eating tongue, but most of our ancestors loved it. When properly cooked it is the most silky and succulent eating experience ever! And frankly, no one does it better than the Mexicans. Their technique of braise/dry cook/braise make it unbelievable! This removes the skin, aka tastebuds ...and leaves you with the most tender meat ever!
This is a two day process but the results are well worth it.

In Dutch oven add the following ingredients
1 fresh beef tongue
2 cups yellow onion, coarsely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, , smashed with flat of knife
2 tbs Ancho chili powder
4 dried Mexian chiles, gualjillo, ancho or pasilla will do
1  3” stick Canela (Mexican cinnamon) or regular cinnamon
1 Tbs ground cumin
2 Tbls Mexican oregano
½ cup, chopped of cilantro
1 tsp epazote
juice of two limes
1 tsp kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350
Wash tongue well with cold water and put in a heavy pot.
Put chile powder, oregano and cumin in a dry pan and toast until light plumes of smoke are released. Add to pot.
Put dry chiles in oven and baked until puffed  and soft, about 3 minutes. Using gloves, remove seeds and stems and add to pot
Add all other ingredients to the pot, cover with water and bring to a rolling boil. Skim any scum. 
Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and simmer gently for three to four hours, or until tongue is beginning to feel spongy-tender under the skin.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Refrigerate tongue in the cooking liquid at least 4 hours or overnight.

The next day, Preheat oven to 350.
Remove tongue from the cooking liquid and reserve both the tongue and the liquid. Place the tongue in a roasting pan and bake about 40 minutes. When pressed the skin should feel like it is puling away from the meat.

Let cool.
Now run a pairing knife down the tongue lengthwise to open it up like a zipper. 
Peel away as much of the skin as you can, then using a sharp knife, trim away the rest of it. ( cut into bite sized pieces the skin makes a great dog treat!)
Slow slice the tongue into 1/4 slices and then cut those into strips.
Reserve to add the the sauce.

A 12 oz can fire roasted tomatoes, pureed in a blender
   or one can Roma tomatoes and juice*
½ cup cilantro

Now, strqin the reserved cookimg liquid and put it back into a heavy pot with the sliced meat, the fire roaste tomatoes andthe cilantro

Put the sliced tongue into a pot.
Add the pureed tomatoes and cilantro.
Braise gently for 30 minutes to one hour until the meat is soft as silk. 
Add some Tapatio or chulua to taste.

The tongue is like Buttah!

Pickled Cabbage for Tacos
Here is the German influence on Mexican cooking. Tongue and cabbage!.
This will keep for about a week in the fridge so make enough!
2 cups white cabbage shredded fine
pinch salt
¼ cup lime juice
1 tbls white vinegar
1 tbl cumin seed, dry toasted until almost black
Toss together well!

Mexican “Crema”
If you can’t find this ingredient, which is essentially loose Crème Fraiche, simplly whisk a little buttermilk in to sour cream to thin it to a creamy but pourable state. Done.

Street Cart Tortilla technique

Tortilla technique
This is how to get those soft, lovely corn tortillas used in Food carts all over America and Mexico.
Use ONLY Masa corn tortillas.
To cook the tortilla, dip in water for only 2 seconds, and shake off water.
Over a small flame on the stove or grill, or in a hot dry skillet toss on a tortilla,
keep it moving and turn until it just starts to scorch.
Stack in a tortilla warmer, or in a warm bowl covered with a dish towel
to help maintain warm/humidity.
To serve
Grab two tortillas from the warmer. Add spoonful of the
cabbage then a spoonful of the tongue with the sauce. 
Garnish with some crema, a sprig of cilantro and a squeeze of lime, 
perhaps more hot sauce?

c2018 Ric Orlando

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