I know Cia encouraged us to make something different out of innards and offal. But I'm pretty helpless on this since I really do not cook offals that often. So you would have to forgive me if I make this thoroughly standard fiesta dish. Cia, as mentioned, of Pabulum is currently hosting the 9th edition of Lasang Pinoy.
I had a lot of fun making this I must say. Starting with shopping for the tongue. Now I wouldn't find this in any ol' supermarket around here so off I went to Tooting (no kidding!) which has a very lively (and cheap) market. (I must blog about this place soon). Lots of fresh veggies and fruits plus this is where I get my fix on pork legs (properly cut), goat meat, whole baby back ribs, fresh chicken liver galore, and supermarket-rare offals - all in very reasonable prices. I went in a Halal meat shop and got this big boy of a tongue.
It was more than 14 inches long and ... well ... resembles something like ... oh never mind. Hehehe! Finding a big pot to fit it in was a challenge but I managed to unearth one of my moth-balling-seldom-used stock pots and just about fit it in. The removal of the skin was a joy - not! Reynaldo Alejandro's recipe from The Food of the Philippines (where I adapted this from) said to scrape or peel. Well I scraped and scraped and scraped but most of the white film is still there. So I had to slice it off trying to take off as little and as thinly as possible. After a prolonged struggle with a double dead tongue I finally got it all off! Hurray on to the cooking!
The marinade was quite good, though, I noticed that you can substitute cooking wine or lemon for the vinegars. I bet it would taste great as well. The only problem I encountered was in the browning of the meat since the marinade has sugar hence the residue got burned. I had to wash up the pot pronto before continuing with the sauteing. I know I lost some good flavours with all those drippings washed away but it was burned and I don't want that to ruin the sauce. Other than that everything else was surprisingly a breeze. And I originally thought it would be horrific including the taste and texture of the meat. The first time I had this was when I was 12 years old and even then, even though I had a pretty fussy tastebud I loved that properly tenderly cooked lengua from a relative's wedding banquet. Finally I was able to recreate it ...
1.5 kg beef tongue
1 tsp peppercorns
1 bay leaf
3 Tbsp cider vinegar or white cooking wine
3 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp sea salt
1 cup water
3 Tbsp oil
1/4 cup minced garlic
1/2 cup minced onions
1/2 cup finely chopped tomatoes
350 gm potatoes - peeled, quartered and sliced
1 big carrot - peeled and sliced
salt and freshly milled black pepper
1/3 cup pimiento-stuffed olives
1 cup button mushrooms - halved or sliced
- Boil the tongue in a large pot of water for 20 minutes. (You may cut the tongue in half if it cannot fit). Drain from water and leave until cool enough to handle.
- Peel off the (usually white) outer skin. You may have to use a very sharp carving knife for this. Trim ends and wash.
- Combine all marinade ingredients and marinate the tongue for 1 hour or overnight.
- In a large pot heat the oil and brown the tongue on all sides. Remove and set aside.
- If the residue in the pot is not burned, use it with the same oil, if it is then clean the pot and heat it up again with about 2 Tbsp oil.
- Saute garlic for about 2 minutes in gentle heat - *do not* burn it.
- Turn up the heat and add in the onion, cook for about 4-5 minutes or until translucent.
- Add in the tomatoes and cook until soft.
- Put the tongue back in the pot together with the marinade.
- Add about 1/2 cup water. Bring back to boil and then simmer for 2.5 hours or until tender. Prick the tongue to let the liquid penetrate. You may add more boiling water a little at a time if it is drying out too much.
- Tip in the potatoes and carrots - cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add in the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Just before serving, remove tongue from sauce and slice crosswise. Arrange in a platter and ladle sauce and vegetables on top. Serve hot.