Lightly browned beef tongue slices are smothered with garlic lemon butter sauce. Lengua al ajillo will make a lovely addition to your holiday menu.
Holiday already? Yes, ha ha, can you see the cute Christmassy placemat under the platter? But, seriously, we were at S&R last week and there were trays and trays of beef tongue at such good prices. Two beef tongues per tray, each weighing a little less than a kilo, for four hundred something pesos. What luck!
Back at home, I slow cooked both beef tongues in salted water with peppercorns, some thyme and bay leaves. My intention was to make two Spanish-inspired dishes with them (hence, the bay leaves).
I’ve done both. This is actually the second dish but I will delay posting the other one until a few weeks from now because it’s even more Christmassy than this one. So that one will require better timing.
Why lengua al ajillo? Because I so love pollo al ajillo and I had this gut feel that the sauce would go well with beef tongue. It turned out I was right.
And the really great thing about this dish? It’s even easier to cook than pollo al ajillo. How is that possible? Isn’t cooking beef tongue labor intensive? Not really. It does require a long time to cook but if you have a slow cooker, that simplifies the process. Cook the tongue. Cool. Wrap. Chill until firm to make slicing easier. The rest of the cooking procedure will take no more than 20 minutes. How’s that for a holiday dish?
When you’ve sliced your chilled beef tongue, lightly brown the slices in butter. Both sides. The browning will give the meat better texture and a lovelier color.
Add more butter to the pan and brown thinly sliced garlic. Remember to scape the bottom of the pan so that whatever browned bits there are will get mixed into the butter. Flavor, you know.
Oh, and if you’re using an non-stick pan, do the scraping with a silicone or wooden spatula to make sure you don’t ruin the surface of your pan. I cringe when I see celebrity cooks on TV using metal utensils when cooking with non-stick pans. They don’t buy those pans so they don’t care about ruining them. But we home cooks buy our pans so we want to take care of them to make them last, don’t we?
Okay, so, when the garlic slices are nicely browned, pour in sweet wine and boil for a few minutes until reduced.
Next, add more butter. Swirl the pan to melt the butter. Off the heat, squeeze in the lemon juice and sprinkle in a little salt and pepper. Taste and make whatever adjustments you like.
Arrange the beef tongue slices on a platter if you haven’t already (that’s just half of one tongue that you see in the photos). Drizzle the sauce over them. Spread the garlic on top and garnish with sliced scallions. Serve with rice and bon appetit!
Lengua al Ajillo (Beef Tongue With Garlic)
Cut the beef tongue into slices about a quarter of an inch thick.
Melt two tablespoons of butter in a frying pan.
Lightly brown the beef tongue slices in the butter. Flip them over to brown the opposite side.
Arrange the beef tongue on a serving plate.
Add another third of the butter to the pan. Throw in the garlic slices and cook over medium-low heat, scraping the bottom of the pan, until lightly browned.
Turn up the heat to high and pour in the wine. Boil, uncovered, until reduced by half.
Turn down the heat and add the remaining butter. Swirl the pan around to melt.
Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Stir. Taste. Add more salt, pepper or lemon juice to suit your preference.
Spoon the sauce over the beef tongue. Spread the garlic on top.
Garnish with sliced scallions and serve your lengua al ajillo.
In case you missed the link in the recipe list, how to prepare beef tongue is detailed in a separate post.
For best results, cool the tongue after cooking, peel off and discard the skin, wrap and chill for several hours (overnight is best) to make slicing easier. You'll get cleaner cuts that way.