Summer has passed us by. We have no regrets, our preparing for winter by preserving as much of the Autumnal bounty as we can. The harvest is an exciting time for aspiring cooks.
This year, we found ourselves generously inundated with foraged apples, crab apples and the like. None were spared. Most will live on as jellies, chutneys, slow cooker butter, and plain ol’ sauce. I am presently working on a sweet chili sauce with the last batch of apple pulp.
The chutney is destined for this month’s Thanksgiving feast with friends and family.
Now, during the warmer summer months, Jenn and I also filled our meager home with people dear to us. Needless to say, we served tacos.
And, there were the taco experiments I may or may not have inflicted on unsuspecting diners.
One of them is more suited to fall as it involves brining and long cooking pork tongue either on the stove or in a slow cooker.
Pork Tongue Tacos
The ravigote, a chopped herb sauce, was sharp and summery with its fresh herbs, but the recipe can easily be retrofitted to accommodate cold weather flavours.
Pork Tongue Tacos “a la ravigote”
[Adapted from Pascal Aussignac’s “Pork tongue a la ravigote” from Great British Chefs]
What You’ll Need:
- 3 pork tongues
- 2 qt batch of “corning” brine
- 2 qt water
- 12 oz kosher salt
- 4 oz raw (or brown) sugar
- 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
- 2 star anise pods
- 5 whole cloves
- 8-10 dried red chiles
- one batch of ravigote
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp sweet mustard
- 1 tbsp pickled green tomato (or another sour pickle), chopped
- 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
- 1 tbsp chives, chopped
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- pinch of kosher salt
- bird’s eye chilies (for garnish)
- Prepare the brine by dissolving the salt and sugar in the water, adding whole spices, and bringing the mixture to a boil for 2 minutes at medium heat. Use a non-creative metal-bottomed pot that can accommodate 2 qts of liquid.
- Let the brine cool completely.
- Submerge the pork tongues in the brine and place everything in the fridge for 2-3 days (5-7 days is better)
- Remove the tongues from the brine and discard the liquid.
- Purge the tongues by submerging them in clean water for an hour.
- Braise the tongues until tender and the skins can be peeled off easily. This can be accomplished by gently simmering in a pot of water on the stove-top (for 3-4 hours) or submerged in slow cooker set to “low” (for 6-10 hours). Optionally, add bay leaves and dried thyme to the cooking liquid.
- Remove the tongues from the cooking liquid and drain.
- When handle-able, carefully remove the skins and tightly wrap the tongues in plastic wrap.
- Place the tongues in the fridge until ready to serve.
- Prepare the ravigote by whisking the oil and vinegar into an emulsion.
- Then, add the rest of the chopped components and toss to combine.
- Slice and sear the tongues in a non-stick pan set to medium-high heat with a little lard or duck fat.
- To serve, layer the sliced tongue onto peppery greens and freshly sliced avocado on a warmed flour or corn tortilla.
- Sauce with ravigote
- Garnish with chopped bird’s eye chiles.
For the record, I’ve made tacos de lengua before, once to celebrate El Día de los Muertos in 2012. But, mass revulsion from my social media feeds kept me from sharing ox tongue dishes since.
Ox Tongue Tacos
Thanks to Chef Matt Carmichael’s El Camino (380 Elgin Street) and his surprisingly popular ox tongue tacos, however, I decided to revisit making my own. This time, I experimented with adding a smokey character.
The tongue was served sliced and seared in warmed flour tortillas.
Addendum: Pulled Chinese Five-Spice Cured Short Rib Tacos
Regarding taco experiments, here’s a bonus. Because we also make our own quick pickle fixings and sauces to go with our tacos, I made Chinese five-spice cured short ribs with the smoked ox tongue.
Five spice cure: 20 g each fennel seeds, cinnamon, whole black peppercorns, star anise, cloves; 10 g red chile flake (or crushed dried chiles); 125 g raw sugar; 100 g white granulated sugar; 450 g kosher salt; 50 g nitrite.
Pickled Jalapenos: bring 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 cup water, 4 tbsp of raw sugar (or brown sugar), and 2 tbsp kosher salt to a boil; poach sliced jalapenos in the liquid covered but off heat for 15 minutes; jar lukewarm
Yogurt Crema: blitz 2-3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce in 1 cup whole fat yogurt with a pinch of salt and a tbsp of cane vinegar.
Tags: Charcutepalooza, featured, offal, ox tongue, Recipe to Riches, slow cooked, taco, tacos de lengua