Tacos de Lengua #SundaySupper

Tacos de Lengua

I’m ba-ack – to Sunday Supper, that is! The holidays got a little nutty so I took a break, but I’m very happy to be participating once again. This week we are *slowly* ringing in the New Year. Slowly – get it? Yup, slow cookers! All the recipes this week are crock pot friendly and quite appropriate for all the cold weather we’re having. I considered it a perfect excuse to check one off my cooking bucket list – making beef tongue tacos! (Lengua is Spanish for beef tongue.)

I first tasted beef tongue about a year ago in a restaurant. It came on a small plate as a hash, and we all loved it. Making it at home immediately went on the list. I’m quite pleased to discover and report that this is a very easy dish to make at home. The beef sits in the slow cooker with a few aromatics for 8 hours, then it cools slightly and you remove the skin and dice it. Then you simmer it just a few minutes in the sauce and you’re done!

slow cooker beef tongue

Now, you may have noticed that I didn’t post any pictures of the tongue whole. That’s because, well, the cooked tongue, pre-skinning and dicing, well, just looks like a giant penis. I wish I was kidding. But it really, really does. As in, men wish they were… okay never mind. But anyways!

Once you get it peeled and diced, it’s not so disturbing (or phallic) and things are pretty smooth sailing from that point on. I know this recipe probably isn’t going to be everybody’s cup of tea, but if you’re even a slightly adventurous eater, I’d highly recommend trying this, it’s really quite tasty. Matt ate three tacos in a row. Oh, and this doesn’t have to be tacos; I loved it on tortilla chips, which makes me think it works as a dip of sorts, or possibly as nachos, too. Whichever way, enjoy!

Beef Tongue Tacos

Source: adapted from Muy Bueno by Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack, Veronica Gonzalez-Smith, and Evangelina Soza

2 ½ – 3 lbs. beef tongue (make sure it’s raw, not cured)
3 cups water
1 small onion, peeled and quartered
5 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 tsp kosher salt

1 tbs olive oil
½ a medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 (15 oz.) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 tsp ground cumin
Pinch of ground cinnamon, preferably Mexican
¼ tsp ground chile de arbol
8 corn tortillas
Fresh cilantro, for garnish
Crumbled Cotija cheese, for garnish (optional)

Place the beef tongue, water, onion, garlic and salt in your slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours.
You’ll know the beef tongue is ready when the skin has turned white and a sharp paring knife pierces it easily. Remove the tongue and let it cool to where you can handle it. Peel the outer skin off. Use a sharp paring knife to help if necessary. You will also need to cut off the fatty and funky looking underside part. Basically, it’s the part that looks like the testicles. I know that’s crude, but if you’re making this dish following these directions, you’ll know *exactly* what I’m talking about.
Once the tongue is skinned and trimmed, dice into ½-inch cubes and set aside.
Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve. Add the strained stock into a fat separator. If you don’t have one, then refrigerate it so you can skim the fat off.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Add the olive oil to a 10-inch skillet, preferably cast-iron, and place it over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion has softened. Shut off the heat and scrape the veggies into your blender. Add the tomatoes, ½ cup of your reserved stock, cumin, cinnamon, chile de arbol, and salt and pepper to taste. Puree until very smooth, 1-2 minutes. Pour the sauce back into the skillet. Add the diced tongue and turn the heat to medium-low. Simmer about 5 minutes to warm the tongue through and thicken the sauce slightly. It should not be runny.
While the sauce is simmering, warm the tortillas and keep them in a tortilla warmer if you have one, or in a foil packet.
To serve, fill a tortilla with some of the beef tongue mixture, then garnish with cilantro and cheese, if desired. I used both garnishes, and I could go either way on the cheese, but I highly, highly recommend using the cilantro. It really adds a needed fresh, grassy note.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the fabulous Sunday Supper team!

Ease into 2014 with these great slow-cooker and crock pot ideas from the Sunday Supper Group!

Whet Your Appetite

Simmering Soups, Stews, and Side Dishes

Main Courses

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64 responses to “Tacos de Lengua #SundaySupper

  1. Julie when I worked in a deli, the tip of the tongue was the most sought after meat. After you skin a few, they all look the same ;).

  2. I’ll admit that I’m a little scared off by the “tongue” … but, it does look tasty! And, I’m all for trying new things!

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  8. I have to admit I never had beef tongue, and it kind of scares me, however, in the combination of flavors you have going on in this dish, I would so try it! I love tacos!!! Great recipe, thank you for sharing!!

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  10. What an interesting recipe. Can’t say that I’ve ever cooked (or eaten) tongue before but the final result looks pretty tasty…And can I say, I’m glad you didn’t post the picture of the tongue in it’s entirety! LOL

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  12. Tacos de lengua sure sounds better than tongue 🙂 My parents both loved this cut, but us kids revolted whenever we saw it for dinner! I have a feeling I’d love your tacos now that my palate has matured.

    • Texan New Yorker

      Oh for sure – I definitely thought about that when writing the recipe title!

      I know for certain I would have revolted against beef tongue as a kid, too. Unless maybe I wasn’t told what it was and was just served the already-assembled taco… Hmm… 🙂

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  14. Hubby would LOVE LOVE LOVE this! He loves beef tongue and is always looking for an excuse to have it. We have only found one grocery store that sells it locally, but they have it pretty regularly. I’m debating whether to tell him about this recipe, because I’m not sure if I’m THAT adventurous, lol. (maybe for a special occasion like Father’s Day or his Birthday?) Thanks for sharing, and glad to have you back. HUGS!

    • Texan New Yorker

      Thanks so much Cheryl!! Yeah my hubby went crazy for this one. This recipe really is easy if you can get past what it looks like before you dice it up. Maybe make hubby remove the skin as a compromise? Haha!

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  16. Way to come back with one of the most unique recipes in today’s round up!

  17. My FIL LOVES lengua, but I’ve never tasted it myself. It’s not a dish my MIL prepares…maybe I should hit my corner Mexi-Mart and pick up some and give it a whirl…get hubby more in touch with his Mexican roots!

  18. Your description of that tongue was definitely a giant LOL – even had to read it to the hubs. This is the 2nd time this week I’ve been subjected to Tacos de Lengua. A friend had some at a restaurant here in Denver and posted a photo on FB. I hope it’s not a sign that I need to try them. I must admit I’m a little squeamish. Yvette is a friend of mine and we live close, so nice to see her name in lights. And nice to find you through Sunday Supper. Cheers.

    • Texan New Yorker

      Thanks so much for stopping by! It is really good, I promise; it tastes more like meat than organ, kind of gamey in a good way.

      How cool that you know Yvette, I love her book!

  19. Ahahahaha! This cracked me up. Is it weird that I sort of wish there were photo evidence of this tongue? I’ve never made or eaten it, but you definitely have me intrigued. The tacos look fabulous!

  20. YUM!!!! I have one question. Do you deliver? 😉

  21. My cowboy hat is off to you for your venturing into the delicacies of NYC delis! Bravo! Carpe diem.

  22. HAHAH, laughing at the phallic bit of this recipe. But hey – you tell the truth! I’ve had tongue at restaurants but never at home. I love this recipe, seems totally do-able and delicious!

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  24. What an interesting and adventurous recipe to start off the new year! Love that you made them into a fun taco!

  25. This looks so good but I’ve never tasted tongue. I want to think I’m adventurous enough to do so though so we shall see. Pinning for that day!

  26. Oh yeah, I’ve seen beef tongue in it’s entirety, I think everyone here is thanking you for not sharing that photo! Unfortunately it’s one of those I can’t get past and taste. Beef cheeks you bet. Beef tongue, I don’t know it’s tongue. . . but I must admit your tacos do look good!

  27. You are so adventurous! That is awesome! I may try tongue, but no way I could prep it!

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  29. Now, of COURSE, I want to see the photo you censored!

  30. I have had tongue only once in my life and that was when I was in Scotland and I could never understand what my girlfriend uncle was saying with his thick Scottish brogue. I ate the sandwich and really enjoyed it as I am sure I would your tacos, they look delicious!!

    • Texan New Yorker

      Oh, that’s hilarious! Did you try haggis though? Now that is scary stuff.

      Beef tongue on a sandwich sounds good though. Thanks Tara!

  31. A very interesting recipe for sure. I’m not quite sure I’m ready to tackle beef tongue yet however I’ll keep this in reserve for anytime I decide otherwise.

  32. Hi Every One!
    My Mom use to cook beef tongue all the time when we were growing up.
    She would could it in the pressure cooker. It was delicious and oh so tender. Once I get brave enough to fire up the new fangled pressure cooker one of the first items I will cook is tongue. Delicious.
    Hope to try this recipe soon.
    Wishing you all the very best in 2014.

    • Texan New Yorker

      Hi Pat! That is so cool that you ate tongue a lot as a kid. I have never used a pressure cooker, so I can completely identify with your nervousness. Let me know how it goes if you try it! Thanks.

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  34. I grew up with tongue, it was something we’d serve on special occasions (Kosher tongue is super expensive). These tacos look amazing! And you should definitely try cheek meat, it’s a really tender cut, amazing in beef stews. Thank you!

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