April 5, 2013
I have a story to tell you. A story that I may tell my grandkids someday. If you follow me on instagram (@summerharms) you probably know what I'm about to say. This week I had a new experience and it involved.... a tongue. You're either going to be proud of me, or write me off forever by the end of this post! Remember back in the fall when I told you guys that we bought 1/4 of a grass-fed cow? I forgot to mention that along with steaks, roasts, and ground beef, we also got the liver, the heart, and the tongue. Ha!
So, inspired by my recent reading of Farmer Boy, where they used every single part of every animal they raised, I decided to break out one of the more unfamiliar (scary) cuts of meat from our freezer. I couldn't let it go to waste, and I knew I had seen this recipe for Tacos de Lengua (Spanish for beef tongue tacos) from Cheeseslave, and apparently Martha Stewart is a big fan... so tongue tacos it is! It sounded easy enough. (It was!) It took me awhile to muster up the courage to go grab it from the freezer in the basement, and then for a couple days I just stared at it thawing in the fridge. I purposely did not thaw any other meat, so that the tongue would be our only option for dinner Wednesday night. There would be no way out. I was doing this!
Wednesday afternoon I started a pot of water boiling and added several cloves of garlic. I unwrapped the white butcher paper package and surveyed the content: a hunk of meat covered with black leathery skin. It... wasn't that scary, I guess. I quickly grabbed it and dropped it in the pot, added some salt, put on the lid, and walked away. Pretty soon my house smelled amazing. I let it simmer away for a few hours. It really wasn't bad at all so far!
When it was time to eat, I took the tongue out of the pot and laid it on a cutting board. It looked basically the same as it did when it went in, but it smelled good. Like roast beef. Grant helped me peel away the thick outer skin (it wasn't hard, but I just wanted someone else there with me for moral support). I sliced the meat into chunks and added it to a cast iron pan with sauteeing onion and garlic, and then seasoned it with cumin, oregano, salt and pepper.
By the time we got our tacos assembled (with dollops of salsa, guacamole, and a little sauerkraut) the tongue meat was pretty coated with familiar flavors and it was hard to determine how different tasting it actually was. To me, it was faintly like corned beef. It was very tender! Hadley was obsessed with it. She ate about 4 bowls full. It was an adventurous, resourceful meal and I'm glad we did it. It was good! I'm not planning on buying a tongue every time we go to the grocery store (I don't even know where to find one) and I doubt that you are either, but in case you ever find yourself with a beef tongue in your freezer, you can keep these tacos in mind. :)
Happy weekend, everybody! Enjoy your meal a little extra tonight, knowing it's not scary at all!