I’m in love with my new pressure-cooker, which I got from my awesome brother for my birthday (he’s like my kitchen genie!). I have all sorts of plans for it, but the very first thing I wanted to make was tongue tacos.
Now, I’ve made tongue tacos before, and it’s not very difficult. Just throw everything in a pot and let it simmer until the muscled protein breaks down into tenderness. It is awfully time-consuming, though - 8 hours+ in a slow-cooker, 3 hours+ on the stove – meaning that cooking beef tongue was strictly a weekend activity. Adapting this recipe from Gourmet, though, I had beef tongue on the table and tortilla ready in about an hour and a half.
- 1 (2 3/4- to 3-lb) beef tongue
- 5 cups beef broth
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 large white onion
- 8 large garlic cloves
- 2 habañeros
- 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
- 3 tsp dried oregano, divided
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 24 soft corn tortillas
- sliced radishes (optional)
- lime wedges (optional)
First, I chopped up the onion, peeled and smashed up the garlic cloves, and stemmed and deseeded the habañeros. Obviously you can use jalepeños, as called for in the original. But honestly, the end result here was that the meat got just a little kick, even from 2 habañeros, so I worry that jalepeños wouldn’t even register.
After scrubbing down the tongue, I placed it in the pressure cooker with the broth, water, onion, garlic, habañeros, bay leaf, 1 tsp of the oregano and 2 tsp salt and brought everything to a boil, uncovered. I snapped on the pressure cooker lid, turned the heat down just slightly, and let it cook for about an hour. Pressure cookers, although fantastic, are kind of scary and intense – the whole time, I kept expecting the thing to explode in a burst of deliciously dangerous meat and broth. It did not. Once the hour was up, I removed the cooker from the burner, running it under cold water until the pressure-thing dropped down (if you have a pressure cooker, you know what I’m saying, right?), and removed the meat to a cutting board to cool. Then I cut it up into cubes.
I strained and reserved about 1 ½ cups of the broth, then heated the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in my high-sided cast-iron skillet. I added the tongue with the cumin, remaining 2 tsp oregano and some salt to taste, and fried about 2 minutes, then added the reserved broth and simmered, covered, for 15 more minutes.
And then it was (taco) party time! I was shocked, SHOCKED, at how well this turned out. The meat was wonderfully seasoned and perfectly tender. It was so good that I actually contemplated buying another tongue to repeat this recipe a couple of days later. But I’m excited to try out more pressure-cooker recipes (I think tripe is next on my list). If you have any favorite pressure-cooker recipes, I beg you, leave them in the comments!!!