LANGUE DE BOEUF EN SAUCE: Beef Tongue in Sauce

langue de boeuf en sauce

We recently culled some beef, and this time we managed to salvage the tongues.  Tongue isn’t often eaten any more, although not so long ago it was an economical cut of meat at the grocery store.  The first time I tried cooking a beef tongue, I was a little bit horrified at the graphic nature of it – there is just no doubt you’ve got a giant tongue cooking!  But after I tasted it, I realized why buffalo tongue was a favorite cut of meat of the Native Americans.  It has great flavor, and a very tender texture.

BEEF TONGUE IN SAUCE (direct translation)

Take a whole beef tongue, and pull off the horn, and remove the veins, nerves, and tendons that can adhere to it.  Let it soak for twenty-four hours in fresh water, changing the water often, then plunge it into boiling water for five minutes, take it out, remove the thick, tough skin, and cook it for five hours in a pot with two cups of broth, salt, pepper, two chopped shallots, and a bouquet of parsley.

De-fat the broth, and mix it into a roux, add chopped parsley, mushrooms, shallots, and cornichons, boil for five minutes and pour over the tongue.

langue de boeuf en sauce

Beef Tongue In Sauce (a Modern Version)

1 beef tongue

Fresh water

2 cups of broth

4 shallots, sliced

A bouquet of parsley, plus extra for the sauce

salt and pepper to taste

A large spoonful of butter

A large spoonful of flour

8-10 button mushrooms, sliced

4-5 cornichons, or small pickled cucumbers, sliced

  1.  Soak the tongue in fresh water for 24 hours in the fridge, changing the water several times.  Trim off any tough-looking parts at the bottom and sides.
  2. Boil a pot of water deep enough to cover the tongue.  Add the tongue to the boiling water and boil for 5 minutes.  Drain the tongue and pull off the tough outer skin.
  3. Put the peeled tongue in a pot with the broth, 2 chopped shallots, and bouquet of parsley (keep some parsley to add to the sauce later), and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook on low heat, about 5 hours.  It doesn’t say to have a lid on, but I kept the lid cracked by propping a wooden spoon under it, and I kept an eye on the liquid level.
  5. When the tongue is well-cooked and tender, pull it out of the broth and set it aside.  Discard the parsley bouquet, and skim some of the fat off the top.
  6. Put another pot or pan on medium heat and add the butter and flour at the same time, and wait a moment before mixing them together.  The mixture will bubble when it is hot.  Pour the hot broth from cooking the tongue into the roux, stirring constantly.  The broth will thicken as the flour cooks.  Now also add the rest of the shallots, the sliced mushrooms, the cornichons, and more parsley (chopped this time).
  7. When the sauce thickens, pour over the tongue and serve immediately.

langue de boeuf en sauce

{My grandmother, Claudia Meraud, was born in Nice, France.   She immigrated to the US after meeting my grandfather while he was stationed there as a US soldier in WW II.  We spent several summers together, just the two of us, living with her sister in Nice.  She passed along to me an old French cookbook titled  title is La Cuisine:  Guide Practique De La Ménagère by R. Blondeau, Chef de Cuisine.  It originally belonged to my great-grandmother, Lucie Thomas, who was a native of St. Marie-aux-Mines in Alsace.

This cookbook was published in the 1930’s, and was written as a practical guide for a household cook before the days of the fridge and the food processor.  The recipes are delicious, practical, and (of course) packed with good traditional nutrition.

I am creating translated versions of these antique recipes, re-written for the modern cook, and tested with home-grown and seasonal food.}

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