Is that “Eeeeeeew!” and “No, thank you!” I hear from the uninitiated? Lengua is not for the faint of heart…or tummy for that matter. It is a dish I’ve loved since I was a little girl. My late Nanay (maternal grandma) made the best Lengua Estofado (Ox Tongue with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Potatoes), if I may share my biased objective opinion. Hee hee! My mom’s version, however, is simpler, in that the lengua slices are cooked in garlic and butter. For the sauce, she simply uses cream of mushroom with loads more of mushroom for the gravy. Is that cheating? Not in my book! :P Hubby prefers lengua with mushroom sauce, too, for the simple reason that that’s also how his maternal grandma made it. If Hubby and I have discriminating tastebuds, it’s because our grandmas fed us well, too well. Nothing beats grandma’s cooking, you know!
Of course, lengua is at it’s gorgeous best when it’s already sitting pretty ion a platter, gravy on the side or drizzled on top. Cooking it is a whole different story. Not that it’s hard, just plain, well, eeeeew. Hee hee. What’s a domestic goddess with lengua cravings to do? Eating in a restaurant would have been the easy way out. But I decided to do my ancestors proud. A few weeks into domestic life here in the US three years ago, I cooked lengua myself. And I tell you, my Nanay must have been smiling at me.
I made this dish for hubby’s birthday celebration. It is one of his favorites dishes after all. If you have a pressure cooker, bless you. It will not take you very long to wait for the tongue to become tender. As for the pressure-cooker deprived me, I boiled the ox tongue for more or less three hours. The long wait was well worth it. The lengua was oh-so tender. ;)
1 onion, quartered
salt and pepper
garlic (lots of it)
butter (for frying)
1 can cream of mushroom
water or (ox tongue) broth
1 can sliced mushrroms, drained
1. Boil the ox tongue in salted water and the quartered onion until tender. Like I said, it took me approximately 3 hours. Save some of the broth for the gravy. When desired tenderness is reach, take the ox tongue out of the pot and cool until cool enough to handle.
2. Peel off the leather-like outer skin of the tongue. It’s not too difficult to peel, but you will need a knife to help you along. Remove some of the fat under the tongue, too.
3. Slice the tongue into 1/2 inch thick pieces then season with salt and pepper.
4. In a skillet, melt about 1-2 table spoons butter. Then add some garlic. At this point, it’s upto you how garlicky you want the ox tongue to taste.
5. Brown the tongue slices in the butter and garlic, then arrange on a serving platter. Pour warm gravy over the ox tongue slices.
For the Cream of Mushroom Gravy…
1. Cook the cream of mushroom as per instructions on the can. Substitute water with the ox-tongue broth.
2. Add the mushrooms and simmer for a minute or two.
3. Pour sauce over the ox-tongue slices or transfer to a gravy boat.
Funny how I’m making myself hungry as I type this entry. I should cook lengua more often. Hee hee. We just had this on November 28th. Do you think Christmas Eve is too soon to have it again? Holiday parties galore in the new few days, one after the other. I already have dark circles under my eyes getting ready for ’em. Still, there’s so much more that needs to be done. It’s the most wonderful time of the year! ;)
Happy Mid-Week! Cheers!