4 Lengua Recipes To Try For Christmas

Don't be scared of this beef cut!

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Lengua, or ox tongue, is a delicacy. It's a super tender and succulent cut of meat that many cooks are afraid to try at home. It may just be the idea of preparing and cooking the tongue that has you balking but while this beef cut may be intimidating to handle, the resulting dishes are worth the effort during the holidays. 

How do you prepare lengua?  

The process of preparing the lengua is actually quite easy if you put your mind to it. Just think of it as another cut of meat that you need to prepare. It really is just meat and it's actually one of the leanest and most tender cuts you'll ever eat when done right. Plus, it just requires two easy steps that you're already familiar with doing: preparing the meat and then tenderizing it. 

The good news is that if you go to a reliable butcher, the tongue you will get is going to be well cleaned already. That's one job out of the way but if not, it's just like preparing tripe and the intestines. Use rock salt to scrub the tongue all over with its abrasive granules and then rinse thoroughly. The other two steps are also simple: boiling the lengua in water until tender and then removing the outer layer. If you tenderize it right, removing that layer will be easy. 


Here's how to prepare lengua or ox tongue right: 

  1. 1. Place tongue in a large pot with enough water to submerge the meat. Bring to a boil and then let simmer until tender, about 1 to 2 hours. 
  2. 2. Remove the tongue from the water and set aside to cool enough to properly handle. Discard the boiling water.  
  3. 3. Using a knife, slice through the outer coating covering the tongue if the skin hasn't begun to peel off yet. Using your fingers or a paper or kitchen towel, grip that section, and peel the skin off the tongue. Continue until the coating is removed. Discard.  
  4. 4. Slice the lengua as stated in the recipe. 
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Just peel back the outer coating after tenderizing the ox tongue or lengua.
Photo by Bianca Laxamana

If you conquered your fear and prepared the lengua this way, you're ready to try any of these five delicious recipes using your newly prepared cut of beef: 

Photo by Majoy Siason

Lengua Estofado Recipe  

This stew is a true classic. Simmering in a rich and thickened tomato sauce with carrots, mushrooms, and olives result in a lengua dish that has a punch of flavor. It's very similar to what you might normally do with beef or pork! 



2 Lengua ala Quito Recipe 

This recipe is a simple and easy-to-make version that you can serve within minutes since the lengua is already cooked and tender. All it really needs is a sauce to make it appetizing. You'll need to make a demi-glace sauce, and if you have beef stock cubes or granules and tomato paste, you can easily make it.


Here's how to make a quick demi-glace: 

  1. 1. In a small saucepan over low heat, heat about 2 tablespoons oil and saute 1 small red onion, finely chopped. Add 1 tablespoon tomato paste and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour. 
  2. 2. Add 1 cup water and 1/2 beef stock cube or 1 tablespoon beef stock granules. Simmer over low heat until slightly thickened then simmer until reduced and thickened, about until 1/2 cup. Taste for seasoning and add water if too salty or simmer some until just right. 

Once you have this quick demi-glace, proceed with the recipe. 

Photo by Bianca Laxamana

3 Lengua with Three-Mushroom Sauce Recipe  

Those with doubts if they'll appreciate lengua has to try this recipe. If you love mushrooms, this lengua recipe uses three kinds of mushrooms to create the incredibly creamy and umami-loaded mushroom sauce. 

Photo by Patrick Martires

4 Lengua Stroganoff Recipe 

Tender beef strips and mushrooms in a tangy white sauce are what a stroganoff is all about. Swap out those beef strips for lengua and use it as the topping for fettuccine for a pasta that's unique. 


See Also

If you're absolutely not keen on preparing beef tongue at home, you can still enjoy any of these recipes using another cut of beef. This beef cut may be used, too: beef kalitiran. Try this common beef cut and see what the fuss is about when you taste it. Maybe when you realize how delicious these recipes are, then you'll be braver to attempt the real thing and truly impress your friends and family this holiday season. 



Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating! 

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on Yummy.ph by submitting your recipe here

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