I’ve been eating beef tongue my entire life. My grandmother used to boil whole tongues right on her stove and I always found it so fascinating. A cow tongue is not a pretty thing, especially when it’s on your plate instead of inside the cows mouth. Sorry to be so brutal and honest about it but a cows tongue is a cows tongue, no matter how you slice it. No pun intended. But one thing I’ve never tried is veal tongue and when I finally got my hands on one, I couldn’t wait to get that bad boy in to a pot on the stove of my own kitchen. Normally I make tongue by pickling it in a pressure cooker than continuing the cooking process with a sweet and sour sauce in the oven. You can check out my Savtah’s famous beef tongue recipe here. For this special veal tongue, I wanted to try something new and different. I’ve had tongue in sauce, sandwiches and just plain pickled but I’ve never had tongue in a soup or stew. I built my veal tongue stew with inspiration from both Japanese and German-style recipes and I think what I came up with is really something special.
Veal Tongue Stew
3-4 pounds veal tongue
1 Tbsp margarine
2 leeks, chopped
2 small onions, chopped
4 cups beef stock
1 bottle red wine
14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 large carrot, chopped
1 large celery stalk, chopped
1 cup shitake mushrooms
1 cup sliced cabbage
1 Tbsp ground thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp margarine
3 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp Sriracha hot sauce
Peel of 2 pears, chopped
Seems like a lot of ingredients but most of them just go in the pot at the same time so don’t fret! I began by boiling the raw tongue for 10 minutes. I placed the tongue in a pot with enough cold water to cover, brought to a simmer and cooked for 10 minutes. I drained the water, washed off the tongue and set it aside.
In my beautiful Dutch oven, I browned the onions and leeks in the margarine.
I poured in the beef stock and red wine then placed the tongue in the pot. The liquids should mostly cover the tongue.
I then added the diced tomatoes, carrots, celery, mushrooms, cabbage, thyme and bay leaves. I brought the mixture to a simmer, covered the pot and cooked the tongue for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
I removed the tongue from the pot and set it aside to cool enough to handle. I left the soup on the stove to continue cooking and in a separate pan, I created a rue to thicken the dish. I melted the margarine then added the flour and stirred until thick. I added a few ladles of the soup broth to the mixture, stirred and added the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, Sriracha hot sauce and pear peels. If you’re wondering about the pear peels, I read online that in Japan, they used to peel all fruits before eating them and they ended up with a lot of leftover peels. In order to avoid wasting them, the women would use the peels in their cooking to enhance flavors. I love that idea and I think I’m going to use it more often.
I added the rue in to the soup and stirred well to avoid any lumps. At this point, I peeled the tongue and chopped it up in to bite size pieces.
I added the tongue back in to the pot and stirred to combine. I poured in the honey for a little added sweetness.
At this point, you can serve the stew on its own or you can serve with a garnish of mashed potatoes or white rice. I chose simple and buttery mashed potatoes. I chopped Yukon Gold potatoes with 2 sliced leeks, olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted covered in the oven at 375 degrees for 1 hour. I then mashed them with a potato masher with a little extra margarine and freshly cracked sea salt and that was it. So delicious.
So there you have it. Hearty and super-flavorful stew with a surprise of veal tongue. I couldn’t believe the subtlety of the veal tongue! If you didn’t know what type of meat was in the stew, you might not even know you were eating tongue. But if you are a serious tongue lover, you will KNOW what you are eating so don’t worry. Oh man, and that broth. What can I say about the broth. So beyond rich with flavor, I could probably just separate the veggies and tongue and just drink that broth on its own.