…..Once upon a time, there was a king (King) of a nation, who valued knowledge and wisdom. It was brought to his attention that the royal cook (Cook) was a very wise man and very popular with the people. This information made King curious. He wanted to test his wise Cook for himself and see what made this person so popular. King summoned Cook and asked him to prepare a feast with a menu symbolizing what brings happiness, joy and prosperity to people. “Your wish is my command” said Cook and he left.
…..The day of the feast arrived. What an elaborate feast Cook had planned. When King arrived, all he saw on the tables were varieties of dishes, all made of tongue. King could not believe his eyes and uttered, “Is this the menu that brings happiness, joy and prosperity to people?” King was not pleased.
…..A few weeks later, King decided to give Cook one more chance. King summoned Cook again. This time, King gave a harsh test. Cook was to prepare a feast with a menu symbolizing what brings unhappiness, misery and disaster to people. “Your wish is my command” said Cook and he left.
…..The day of the feast arrived. What an elaborate feast Cook had planned. When King arrived, all he saw on the tables were varieties of dishes, again, all made of tongue! King could not believe his eyes and shouted, “Is this the menu that brings unhappiness, misery and disaster to people? Tongue again?” King could not understand why people thought Cook was a wise man. Immediately, frustrated King summoned Cook and asked, “How can tongue symbolize different ends of opposing points of view, happiness and unhappiness, joy and misery, prosperity and disaster? Why tongue?” Cook humbly responded, “Sire, tongue uses words to communicate. With words of love, support and concern, tongue has the power to bring happiness, joy, prosperity and spirituality to people, nation and humanity. Whereas, the same tongue, using words without love, support and concern has the power to bring unhappiness, misery, disaster and even catastrophic destruction to people, nation and humanity. King was awed by Cook’s wisdom and announced to his nation that Cook was hence to be called ‘Wise Man’ and was now King’s official adviser.
What may look freaky to some, it is no different than trimming and cooking (in this case, cooking and trimming) any other meats. Tongue meat is tender with full of flavor, but it must be cooked right. My Mother cooked tongue, usually beef and occasionally lamb, a few times a year. Not enough times, if you ask me. Usually served in flavored tomato sauce or saffron sauce, with varieties of vegetables on the side. As a teenager, on the way coming home from school, stopping by the local deli with schoolmates to eat tongue sandwich was quite a treat. Shredded and sandwiched in fresh, crunchy French bread, together with touch of mustard, freshly sliced tomato, Persian pickle and crushed potato chips! This is not a traditional sauce recipe used for tongue in Persian homes, but one that would delight every palate just the same.
Beef Tongue with Raisin Sauce | خوراکه زبون
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
• 1 beef tongue (1.4 ~ 1.8 Kg / 3 ~ 4 lb)
• 1 large onion, quartered
• 2 medium carrots, peeled and quartered
• 1 rib celery, quartered
• 5 large cloves, garlic
• 5 large bay-leaves
• 1 tsp salt
◊ To clean the tongue: Wash tongue thoroughly in running water. If needed, scrub it with a kitchen brush. Put it in a large pot and cover with cold water. Let it soak for 1 hour. Empty the water, wash the pot thoroughly and rinse the tongue again. Place the tongue back in the pot, add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, bay-leaves (no salt yet) and fill the pot with water to cover the tongue. Put the lid on and place it on the stove, on medium heat. As muscle meats are prone to become tough when cooking too fast, simmering slowly for a long time is desirable. It is recommended to cook tongue for 45 ~ 60 minutes per 454g/1 lb. Flip tongue very carefully every 45 minutes.
After 2 hours of cooking, add salt. Starting after 2.5 hours of cooking, and every 30 minutes, test with a thin sharp knife. Cooking is done when the knife goes through smoothly.
◊ Remove cooked tongue from the pot and place it on a cutting board. Let it cool. Once it is cooled, it is easy to peel the skin. Use knife if needed in places. To remove fat and roots at the bottom of the tongue, get your hand in there and remove, separate pieces of meat hidden in the fat and discard undesirable parts. After cooking and trimming, tongue yields 40% of meat weight before cooking.
◊ Cut the meat into 12mm (½”) slices. At this point, you can use any sauce of choice or use the meat as is, as hors-d’oeuvre, cold cuts (cut thinner in that case), shredded and served warm in a sandwich or in this recipe it is served with raisin sauce (recipe below).
◊ As for the broth in the pot, strain, separate vegetables to use at other meals. Let the liquid sit to skim the fat. Use a few tablespoons of skimmed broth for the sauce if more liquid is needed, or freeze to be used later for other cooking.
◊ Place sliced tongue pieces in a medium saucepan with lid, pour the raisin sauce over and simmer for 10 ~15 minutes on medium low. Dish out and serve.
~ Bon Appétit! ~
Raisin Sauce for Meat Dish
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
• 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
• 3/4 cup (120 g) raisins of choice (I used mixed)
• 1 cup apple juice (I made fresh from Fuji apple)
• 3 Tbsp lemon juice
• 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp salt
• smidgen ground saffron dissolved/brewed in 2 Tbsp hot water
• 1 Tbsp crispy caramelized onion (optional)
◊ In a small sauce pan, melt the butter. Add the raisins and sauté for a minute. Stir in the apple juice, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt and saffron and caramelized onion. Simmer for three minutes for the flavor to meld.
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?