Sweet, tangy and salty, lengua (beef tongue) estofado is an easy and tasty dish to serve for the holidays. Pair with colorful vegetables for a festive look.
Yes, my family loves beef tongue. Well, except Sam, of course, who eats no meat. But before she embarked on a meatless diet, she was a beef tongue lover too.
I cooked this beef tongue estofado over a month ago but held back posting the recipe thinking it was much too early for holiday dishes. Well, I think today is the perfect day to share the recipe.
It starts with cooking the beef tongue in salted water. Adding herbs and spices is optional. Because it takes hours to tenderize the meat, I like doing this step overnight in the slow cooker. If you don’t have a slow cooker, just use a large pot with a heavy bottom. Simmer the tongue for four to six hours. The actual cooking time depends on the size and weight of the tongue.
The beef tongue can be cooked ahead of time and kept in the fridge. On the day of the gathering, simply cook the vegetables, add the beef tongue, pour in the sauce and simmer until the meat is heated through.
So, let’s say you have already cooked your beef tongue, these are the only steps to complete the dish.
Lightly fry cubed potatoes and carrots, diced bell peppers and halved olives with a bit of salt and pepper.
Add onion and garlic to the vegetables and cook for a few minutes.
Push the vegetables to the sides of the pan and arrange the sliced beef tongue in the middle.
Pour in the sauce. Cover the pan and simmer everything together until the meat is heated through and the tongue has soaked up some of the sauce.
Then, you just plate the dish. Use a wide spatula to scoop out the beef tongue slices and arrange in the middle of a platter.
Spoon the vegetables on both sides. Drizzle all the pan juices over everything.
Sprinkle in some chopped parsley for color and serve!
Lengua (Beef Tongue) Estofado
For the sauce
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
Peel the beef tongue. Cut into half inch slices. Set aside.
Peel the carrot and potato; cut into half-inch cubes.
Deseed the bell peppers and dice.
Cut the olives into halves.
Peel and roughly chop the onion.
Smash, peel and chop the garlic.
Heat the cooking oil in a heavy shallow pan.
Spread the carrot and potato cubes, and the diced bell pepper, on the hot oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fry until the edges of the vegetables start to brown.
Add the onion and garlic. Continue cooking, stirring often, until the onion softens.
Push the vegetables to the sides of the pan.
Arrange the beef tongue slices, slightly overlapping, in the middle of the pan.
Mix together all the ingredients for the sauce and pour over the beef tongue.
Lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the beef tongue slices are heated through and has soaked up some of the sauce.
Using a wide spatula, transfer the beef tongue to a platter.
Spoon the cooked vegetables on both sides of the meat.
Drizzle all the pan juices over the beef tongue and vegetables.
Optionally, sprinkle the lengua (beef tongue) estofado with parsley before serving.
The beef tongue may be cooked a day or two ahead. Cool, wrap in cling film and keep in the fridge until needed.