Thursday, April 17, 2008

Swedish Tongue

Get your mind out of the gutter! This is a method of preparing beef tongue Swedish style that even people who swear they hate beef tongue will love.

When I was younger, beef tongue was a very cheap cut of meat, which probably explains why my Mother would make it frequently. No offense Mom, but I never much cared for the presentation. A big grey naked cow's tongue on a plate. Even when cut into slices, still a big rubbery tongue. Instead, this presentation is crisp breaded and sauteed slices that will leave people guessing what the meat is and asking for more.

Now that tongue is no longer a cheap piece of meat in the grocery store, in fact I can rarely find it, I have to pre-order these from a local cattle rancher. When he slaughters several cattle for his own freezer he is more than happy to give me the tongues and tails. Probably wonders why I would want such things. Well, here's why.

Swedish Style Tongue

3 lb (about) beef tongue
1 onion peeled and quartered
2 carrots peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
1 tsp salt
1 tsp rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 or 2 beaten eggs
bread crumbs

Cook the tongue: Scrub the tongue well under running water. Cut off some of the fat and saliva glands at the root of the tongue. (I know, you are right now going ick ick ick......get over it! Just imagine how commercial sausage is made and what is actually in it, if you want to gross out.)

Place the tongue in a large kettle and just cover with water. Add to the water the carrots, onions and spices. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 3 to 3 1/2 hours until it is able to be pierced easily with a fork. Peek now and then to add more water to keep the meat covered. Cool completly in the broth.

When cooled, reserve the broth by pouring through a sieve to remove impurities and toss away the veggies. Peel the tongue and cut away any fatty parts. Refrigerate until ready to use. You can prepare this a day or so before, just keep wrapped up in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.

Swedish Style Tongue:
Cut the tongue into 3/8 slices, starting from the back end, not the tip of the tongue. Thin slices. Dip in egg and then in flour, back into the egg and then into crispy bread crumbs. Panko didn't exist in the stores when I obtained this recipe (about 1972 from Sunset Magazine I think) so I would make my own by using stale french bread and whirling it in the food processor or blender. Do NOT use the pre made kind that comes in the store, like Contadina. It will just make a heavy doughy covering instead of an airy crispness.

Saute each slice in butter, or a combination of butter and peanut oil, until crispy and golden brown. It won't take long. The slices are already cooked fork tender and are very thin. Keep warm on a plate in a low oven until all the slices are done.
Serve with a mild sour cream horseradish sauce on the side. Vegetables poached in the reserved broth as vegetable side dish (asparagus, carrots, potatoes). You can freeze and later use the reserved broth as a base for a beef soup.

Truly. No one will know you are serving them the dreaded and gross out beef tongue unless you tell them........ after they have eaten it. Be sure if you do this, your friends are the forgiving types.

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