Monday 10 November 2014




Hey, bite your tongue! No, I really do mean it. I am literally inviting you to seek out and try cooking with the marvellous beef tongue. As far as cuts of beef go, you simply cannot get a more tender and unctuous cut of meat. The irony is that if prepared properly tongue will literally melt on your tongue.

This weekend we took a meandering drive through the country enjoying the haunting beauty of the Ayr countryside on an overcast and cool November day. We stopped off at a couple of antique shops and contemplated our next meal. We were heading toward our favourite place for sourcing organic local meat when all of a sudden the heady aroma of cow manure infiltrated our car. My partner’s eyes lit up like a Christmas tree and before we knew it we saw a group of laid back cows outside a barn chewing contently. Not 15 feet away we see a sign for Faul Farms in front of a beautiful old house set in what can only be called an idyllic pastoral setting beckoning us to try their naturally grown beef. So we parked our car and headed towards the country store that was presumably inside this house when a beautiful small black cat crossed our path. We chose to see this as a sign of good luck (as we both love black cats). She, along with a very friendly dog guided us to the front door of the house. It felt a bit odd to enter someone’s house just like that. We looked inside and had no idea which way to turn, it just looked like someone’s home. So we went back outside the front door, rang the bell to announce ourselves and nothing! So we proceeded back in again treading awkwardly in a random direction when suddenly something resembling a shop towards the end of the house came into full view, phew. We were greeted by two friendly young girls behind the counter and we proceed to check out their meat products. We found oxtail, which has been surprisingly difficult to find either because it gets sold out quickly or because it’s become a bit too steep in price. What I was really after now however, was tongue, and after scanning their product list I was left disappointed at its omission. I walk away to check out some other cuts when my partner calls me over to tell me that tongue is listed under the Pet Food section, appetizing right? This delicacy has been relegated to pet food?! Lucky pets I suppose. So I asked if they had any of the tongue in stock and they did. I asked if it’s fit for human consumption and the girl explained that most people don’t eat tongue so they market it as pet food. However, seeing as it was a whole tongue, I happily took it. Sophie, the black cat was on to something, this place was a lucky find and is truly worth checking out:

We were expecting two very special guests the next day, one of which had just flown in from overseas so this tongue had better be good, and boy was it ever! I could tell the tongue was fresh and healthy the moment I unwrapped it so I was excited to get to it and prepare it in a luxurious white wine sauce. I grew up with a tongue recipe my mother used to make which was served with a simple white sauce, however this sauce is an elevated and elegant version that is both simple to prepare and an exquisite accompaniment to the tongue.


INGREDIENTS (serves 4):

1 whole beef tongue
1 carrot, peeled
1 onion, peeled
1 stick celery
A few sprigs of fresh parsley, thyme and/or rosemary and oregano
A few peppercorns
A couple of juniper berries (optional)

1 shallot, finely chopped
1 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. flour
3/4 cup of white wine
1 ladle-full of chicken stock
¼ cup of cream
10-12 fresh tarragon leaves
1 tsp. capers
4 thinly sliced small cornichons
Salt and pepper

  1. Wash the beef tongue thoroughly in cold water
  2. Place in a large stock pot along with onion, carrot, celery, herbs, and peppercorns and bring to a boil. Once boiling turn down the heat to low and let simmer gently for 3 hours
  3. Remove the tongue from the stock, let cool slightly then peel off the thick rough skin. It should come off quite easily.
  4. Slice tongue diagonally into ¼ inch slices. As you get to the thicker part of the tongue you will notice more fat and blood vessels. Continue slicing just the same then simply trim off those ugly bits (hopefully you have some grateful pet to feed them to). Wrap tongue slices in tinfoil and set aside while you make the sauce
  5. In a pan on medium heat, melt the butter then sauté the shallots. Add the flour and continue to fry for another couple of minutes while stirring with a wooden spoon
  6. Pour in the wine and let simmer until reduced by a third, the sauce should look fairly thick
  7. Pour in a ladle of stock and let reduce again by about  half
  8. Add cream along with salt and pepper to taste and let simmer for a few more minutes. The consistency of the sauce should be such that it’s thick enough to coat the back of your spoon, not too thick or clumpy nor too watery
  9. Once you are happy with the thickness and seasoning you can drop in your tarragon leaves and capers
  10. Place your tongue slices inside the sauce and let cook gently in the sauce for another minute
  11. Garnish with cornichon slices and a few more tarragon leaves
  12. Serve with roasted potatoes and fresh green salad leaves

No comments:

Post a Comment