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Beef Tongue with Horseradish


Once you get over the psychological hurdle of eating beef tongue, you'll find it's quite delicious!

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  • Tongue:
  • 1 (2 lb) fresh beef tongue
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp peanut oil, suet, or extra virgin olive oil
  • Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallot
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1 cup stock or reserved cooking liquid from tongue
  • 2 Tbsp whole-grain mustard
  • 1/2 – 2 Tbsp prepared horseradish
  • 2 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice



Step 1

Preheat oven to 300˚F. To cook the tongue, rinse it well with cold water and place in a large oven-safe pot or dutch oven. Add water to cover by a couple inches and then add the remaining spices and aromatics. The spices listed here are a guide, but feel free to mix it up. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, then place the pot in the oven for about 3 hours, until the tongue is very tender. This can all be done in a slow cooker as well, if you desire.

When tongue is tender, let it cool uncovered in it’s cooking liquid until cool enough to handle (now’s a fine time to make the sauce). If you’re in a hurry, you can take the tongue out of the liquid to speed the process. Reserve some of the cooking liquid for the sauce, or you can simply use stock, or even milk.

For the sauce, heat the cream together with reserved cooking liquid or stock in a small pan, keep covered at a very low simmer. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Add the shallots and cook gradually, stirring, until softened. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking briskly for about 1 to 2 minutes, until blonde. Then, gradually whisk in the pre-heated liquid, whisking constantly so as to avoid lumps (preheating the liquid also helps to prevent the sauce from seizing and creating lumps). Bring to a boil whisking. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue whisking for a couple minutes until slightly thickened. Stir in the mustard, horseradish, parsley, dill, and lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Depending on how strong your horseradish is, you may need anywhere from ½ to 2 tablespoons. Add a small amount at first and then adjust to taste once all the ingredients are in. Keep covered on the stove on very low heat.

Peel off the skin (ahhhh) and trim away any remaining nastiness. Slice the tongue into ½-inch thick slices on a slight bias. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add just enough oil to create a thin film. Add the tongue slices, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, and fry for a few minutes, until nicely browned. Turn the slices and brown the other side for a couple minutes as well.

When done, fan the tongue slices out on a plate and drizzle with sauce. Garnish with parsley and serve. Then, admit that it’s really quite tasty.

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