Tongue dishes are not so common on restaurant menus these days especially in the United States. I am assuming the reason may be due to a lack of demand from the consumers! Many years ago while traveling in Panama this tongue dish was on the restaurant menu, walking distance to my hotel. I am glad I tried it. It turned out so tasty that I want to duplicate this recipe at home! Over the years I have made this dish a handful of times. Each time I tried to use different ingredients to achieve similar flavors. The last time I made a similar dish I used goat hearts. Instead of tomato base I used sauerkraut. Today's recipe I did not use sazon seasoning, which has unnecessary chemicals with potential for harm such as monosodium glutamate (MSG).
It is difficult to find tongue in my local market. However, I purchased the tongue from Cracked an Egg Farm. The tongue had to be scraped clean, boiled, and then peeled prior to using. The preparation took a little work but it is well worth it. I normally eat this dish with rice. However, you can eat it with anything you prefer.
Beef Tongue in Tomato-Sofrito Sauce:
1 beef tongue
2 Tbsps oil
2 tsps annatto seeds
2 chopped garlic cloves
1 recipe of Cooked Home-Made Sofrito Seasoning (recipe follows)
2 C home-made tomato sauce (preferably home-made)
1 tsp salt (or according to your taste)
1/2 tsp black or white ground pepper (or according to your taste)
Chopped cilantro, garnish (optional)
1) Add about 2 teaspoons of salt to the tongue and scrape it with a knife to clean it. Rinse well. In a pot large enough to hold the beef tongue add enough water to cover the entire tongue. Gently boil the tongue for about 30-45 minutes.
2) Once the tongue is partial cooked, remove from heat, let cooled completely and peel (anything that is white will need to be removed) and trim away any soft tissue.
3) Thinly slice the tongue.
4) In a large pan render the oil and annatto seeds in medium high heat for about 2 minutes. Once the oil turns orange remove the seeds and discard them.
5) Add the garlic and sliced tongue. Saute about 10 minutes or until all the meat is no longer pink.
6) Add sofrito seasoning, tomato sauce, salt, and white pepper. Saute another 5-7 minutes.
*You may add hot chili pepper at the end if you want this dish to have a little kick.
*If you don't have tomato sauce you substitute with 2-3 large peeled, de-seeded, and chopped tomatoes for this dish. You can adjust the cooking time for the tomato according to your preference.
*The precooked tongue weighed about 1.8 pounds. After boiling and peeling it, the sliced tongue yielded about a pound.
*You may purchase annatto seeds from an Asian or ethnic food market.
Cooked Home-Made Sofrito Seasoning:
2 Tbsps oil
1 C chopped onion (I used white and red)
1 Tbsp chopped garlic
1/2 C chopped scallions
1/2 C chopped sweet pepper
1/2 C chopped cilantro
1/2 C chopped culantro (ngo gai in Vietnamese or racao in Spanish)
1) Heat oil in a medium size pot over medium high heat.
2) Once the pot is hot, add onion and garlic. Saute for about 2 minutes.
3) Add scallions and pepper, saute for about 2 minutes.
4) Add cilantro and culantro, saute about 2 minutes. Turn off heat and cover.
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