cow_tongue_dish.jpgTongue is a common dish is Europe where it’s pickled, corned, smoked or added to pates and sausage, think Oscar Meyer, and a nice slice between two pieces of whole grain bread is considered a treat. The Romans often served the tongues of flamingos, nightingales and larks at their banquets so why not a little beef, pork, lamb or cod? Anyway it’s no worse then raw fish, or an order of chicken nuggets, and it was a fairly common in North American before the advent of global feed lots but  today you’ll probably have to go to a Hispanic or Asian  market to find one. The procedure calls for braising the cleaned tongue till it’s tender and then removing the skin before serving. At that point you can also chill it and later slice it for a cold meat platter, or saute it either breaded or reheat it in a sauce.


1   pounds calf or cows tongue

2   whites of leek, cut into rounds and washed well

1 can peeled plum tomatoes with juice or 4 ounces chopped sundried tomatoes

1 small bunch culantro leaves

2 tablespoons fresh oregano chopped

1 tablespoon thyme

8 bay leafs

1 teaspoon chipotles or several minced spicy hot chilies

1 teaspoon achiote paste

1 teaspoon allspice

1 sprig green pepper corns, or 1 tablespoon brined

4 ounces balsamic, apple cider or red wine vinegar

To taste granulated chicken base

  1. Cover the washed tongue with water in an appropriate sized pot
  2. Bring the water to a boil, then discard, replace with fresh water, return to heat
  3. Add the remaining dozen ingredients, bring to a simmer and cover
  4. Cook tongue till tender about an hour per pound, remove from heat
  5. Remove tongue from stock, cool then peel skin off, keep warm till service OR
  6. Return to stock and refrigerate overnight for later service
  7. NEXT DAY; remove from stock, slice thin and reserve
  8. Bring the stock to a boil, reduce if necessary, adjust seasonings and thicken for sauce
  9. Saute the reserved slices after breading or dredging in seasoned flour

You can also incorporate some tongue into you picadillo for stuffing carimanola, tamales, arepas, bollos or empanada or simply throw a can of gandules into your sauce and serve a fried slice with rice, the sauce and some fired plantains very authentic. You could also put a slice on a Panamanian tortilla and top with a little queso fresco and some Alcapurria for a great lunch, along with of course some rice and fried plantains.

Glenn Gamboa
The Three Sisters