Lengua is a Mexican beef dish. Wanna see what part of the cow it uses?
|That pan is about 10 inches across.|
You know, I had tongue once before. I visited my best friend in Philly recently and she was kind enough to buy me a quarter pound of sliced beef tongue from a deli. It smelled like a mix of pastrami and cat food. Tasted alright though.
Unfortunately, girlfriend is not currently available to be traumatized. Luckily, my good friend Emi, who is also a vegetarian, has opted to be present during the bulk of its preparation. Lucky thing too. Half of the fun of this blog is inflicting it on others. Of course, this is one of MY friends we’re talking about here. They don't horrify easily and they tend to bounce back quickly. As I began prep we bantered about how the cow probably wanted to be an actress when she grew up, and had a loving family, and was going to go to college before it was all tragically cut short. Naturally, I held it in front of my mouth while standing very close to Emi as she was looking at something else and made a loud, throaty “BLULULULUAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGG” sound when she noticed me. You know, the usual stuff people do when cooking. You know, I can't help but notice that the taste buds are pretty prominent. You could feel them through the packaging. By the way, if you’re a tongue aficionado and the color of the tongue seems a bit off, it’s because it was pre-smoked, not raw.
5 Green chilis: I used serrano peppers
2 cans of corn
4 roma tomatoes
A small white or yellow onion
4 cloves of garlic
Total cost: $20 - $30
Before you do anything else, you have to boil the tongue for 40-50 minutes per pound. Why? Because you need to skin it, of course! Who ever heard of eating the skin on a cow tongue? That would just be gross. By the way Emi noted that it smells like hot dogs. As it boiled the smell became more and more prominent, until it filled every inch of my tiny, studio apartment. Infer from that what you will. When it's done, set the tongue aside to cool for a few minutes.
Now skin it. I thought this would be difficult, but you can actually just peel it off with your fingers. It comes off very easily.
Now thinly slice the tongue. The meat is very tender and easy to cut, so this only takes a minute. You can chop it more finely if your skillet isn’t big enough.
Now get your veggies ready! In a skillet, roast the peppers over medium heat until the sides are charred. The more charred it is, the easier it is to skin them. Take them off of the heat, let them cool off a bit and rub the skin off. If you’re using very hot peppers, or doubt your manual dexterity you should wear gloves to keep oil from getting under your nails because that shit is ridiculously painful. I once got datil pepper oil under my thumb nail and I thought it was going to melt off. Now cut off the tops and coarsely chop the peppers. If you want your lengua to be spicier, leave the seeds in. Now thinly slice the onion, mince the garlic, and coarsely shop the tomatoes. Get your cans of corn ready as well.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Transfer the peppers, garlic, and onion into the pan. Cook until the onions are translucent.
Add the beef tongue. Cook for an additional 10 minutes to brown the meat.
Add the tomatoes, and cook them until they’re soft. 5 minutes should do it.
Finally, add drain and add the corn. Cook for another 5 minutes or so to heat it. My skillet was not nearly big enough for this.
It tastes a bit like bland beef, but the fat gives it a hint of sweetness that's a bit like pork. The slight heat from the peppers is quite nice and the firm texture of the corn compliments the tenderness of the beef. All of the meat and veggies absorbed some of the oil from the hot peppers, so the heat is nice and even, without being too strong. All of the ingredients complement each other very nicely. This is really excellent. I’m sure your average American meat-eater would love this as long as you don’t tell them it has tongue in it. That apparently works for hot dogs. Stay queer!