Lengua… Tongue… Cow/Beef Tongue…

Lengua.  Tongue.  It is the scariest looking piece of meat that I have encountered in person.  It’s intimidating to think that I could cook something like this and make it edible.  I had first heard about lengua when I was in high school.  I found out that there is more to Mexican food than Taco Bell, and was introduced to an amazing place called a Taqueria.  What is this magical place filled with delicious smells?  I had no idea.  Again, Taco Bell was the only place I had heard of that was serving “Mexican” food and I seriously thought that the tacos and burritos there were delicious.  Boy was I WRONG.

I started with a simple taco with beef (or perhaps it was chicken?) and I was forever changed.  I was now a Mexican food snob and would never (unless I was drunk) step foot inside another taco bell ever again.  THIS was real Mexican food.  There were other things on the menu, most in Spanish, that I had no idea what they were, but would eventually try as the years passed.

Let’s fast forward to the Spring of 2012.  I still hadn’t tried lengua.  I knew what it was because I took Spanish in high school, but the thought of eating tongue?!  Really?!  I had no idea what it tasted like, and if I had asked the person behind the counter their opinion they were gonna say, “It’s good!”  OF COURSE they’re going to say that!!  So I didn’t try.  I finally gave it a go and WOW!  Tender and moist and full of flavor!  To be honest, you don’t see the tongue hanging from the window like a duck on a hook.  It’s chopped up into bite-size pieces and placed neatly on a corn tortilla, or wrapped up lovingly with beans and rice and other such nonsense.  If no one told you what it was, you would think it was beef.  Technically it IS beef, but you get what I mean.

Fast forward to today and this would be the second time that I have made lengua.  Please note that it takes about 2-3 hours to cook so if you are planning on having this for dinner, I suggest you either crock pot it in the morning or start dinner prep early.  I haven’t tried tongue when it has been under cooked so I can’t tell you what it tastes like.  Chewy perhaps?  All I know is that a slow fully cooked tongue is tender.  It also takes on the flavor of your sauce or spices.  DEE-LISH!!  Can I also say, that this entire meal was about $10 total and can feed about 4 people.  Just sayin’… So here is my recipe for:



Can be turned into a stew or a lettuce wrap.  See pics below.

Ingredients for Lengua:

1 – 2 pounds of tongue

4 whole garlic cloves (Smash em!)

1 medium onion (cut into 1/8’s)

1-2 tsp of whole black peppercorns

Beef Boullion or Beef Stock

Optional:  Add a bay leaf.  I didn’t have any on hand, but it just gives it that much more flavor.

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Ingredients for Roasted Pepper Sauce:

2 – Poblano Peppers

3 – Gypsy Sweet Peppers

4 – Garlic Cloves (minced)

1 large onion (cut into 1/8’s)

1 can of diced organic fire roasted tomatoes

Seasoning (Please see pictured.  Use whatever seasoning that you like.)

Optional:  Want a hotter sauce?  How about some fresh jalapenos?  Habaneros?  Ghost Chili?  I’m not that adventurous with spicy foods, but if you are then have at it!  I read somewhere that spicy foods boost your metabolism.  🙂

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1.  I threw my peppers into the toaster oven at 350 F.  No preheating, just threw em in there.  Keep an eye on them and don’t forget to turn them every so often.

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2.  Take your tongue out of the package and give it a good rinse.  Then put it in a pot large enough to fit the tongue as well as cover it completely in water/beef stock.  Add all lengua ingredients to the pot.  BTW…  I used 5 cups of water, so I used 5 tsp. of the beef boullion.

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3.  Place the pot on the stove, place lid, turn it to high heat, and let it come to a boil.

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4.  Once it’s boiling, turn the heat down until it simmers and then leave it alone for 2-3 hours.

5.  Sauce!  Preheat your sauce pan on medium to medium high heat with some coconut oil.  Once at temperature, add onions and cook about 5 minutes.

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6.  Add garlic and fire roasted tomatoes.

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7.  Hopefully by now the peppers are done.  If not, turn the heat to broil and again…  keep an eye on them.  About 3-5 minutes.  Take em out!

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8.  Carefully peel the peppers and seed them.

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9.  Now you can cut them into strips or you can dice them up.  Entirely up to you how big you want the pepper pieces.  I cut strips and then added them to the tomatoes.

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10.  Mix everything together, and add seasoning.  Turn heat to low and let it simmer for a bit.

11.  Time elapses and your tongue is cooked!!

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12.  Carefully take the tongue out of the pot and place on cutting board to cool down.

13.  I like to take the water from the tongue pot and pour some into the sauce pot.  Ah flavor…

14.  Once your tongue has cooled down enough for you to touch, you’re going to have to peel it.  Please see pictures.  Note:  The longer you cook the tongue, the easier it is to peel.

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15.  Now that your tongue is peeled you can slice it up however you like.

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16.  I cut it into large chunks and then added the meat to the sauce.

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17.   You can either add more water from the pot that you cooked the tongue in to make it a stew:

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Or you can serve it on a lettuce leaf, chop up some fresh cilantro, and now you have a Lengua Lettuce Wrap!

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It is optional if you want to add the meat pieces to the sauce.  You can always add it later especially if it’s super spicy and the person that you’re sharing with, if you’re sharing, isn’t all that into spicy food.  Entirely up to you.  If you have any questions let me know.  ENJOY!!


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