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Remains of Summer: Tacos de Lengua

Taco de Lengua Taco de Lengua
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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

Chef Pascal Aussignac's "Pork tongue a la ravigote"

Chef Pascal Aussignac’s “Pork tongue a la ravigote”

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]

Pork Tongues in Brine

Pork Tongues in Brine

Ravigote

Ravigote

Sliced Chilled Pork Tongue

Sliced Chilled Pork Tongue

Seared Pork Tongue with Ravigote

Seared Pork Tongue with Ravigote

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)

Prep 1:

  1. 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.
  2. Let the brine cool completely.
  3. Submerge the pork tongues in the brine and place everything in the fridge for 2-3 days (5-7 days is better)

Prep 2:

  1. Remove the tongues from the brine and discard the liquid.
  2. Purge the tongues by submerging them in clean water for an hour.
  3. 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.
  4. Remove the tongues from the cooking liquid and drain.
  5. When handle-able, carefully remove the skins and tightly wrap the tongues in plastic wrap.
  6. Place the tongues in the fridge until ready to serve.

Method:

  1. Prepare the ravigote by whisking the oil and vinegar into an emulsion.
  2. Then, add the rest of the chopped components and toss to combine.
  3. Slice and sear the tongues in a non-stick pan set to medium-high heat with a little lard or duck fat.
  4. To serve, layer the sliced tongue onto peppery greens and freshly sliced avocado on a warmed flour or corn tortilla.
  5. Sauce with ravigote
  6. 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

Tacos de Lengua for El Dia de los Muertos 2012

Tacos de Lengua for El Dia de los Muertos 2012

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.

Ox Tongue in Corning Brine

Ox Tongue in Corning Brine

A-Maze-N-Pellet-Smoker with Applewood Pellets from Capital Appliance & BBQ

A-Maze-N-Pellet-Smoker with Applewood Pellets from Capital Appliance & BBQ

5-day Brined and Braised Ox Tongue in the Makeshif "Cold" Smoker

5-day Brined and Braised Ox Tongue in the Makeshif “Cold” Smoker

Cold Smoked Corned Ox Tongue

Cold Smoked Corned Ox Tongue

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.

Hand Ground Chinese Five-Spice

Hand Ground Chinese Five-Spice

Beef Short Ribs in Five-Spice Cure

Beef Short Ribs in Five-Spice Cure

Beer Braising the Short Ribs in a Slow Cooker

Beer Braising the Short Ribs in a Slow Cooker

Pickled Jalapenos

Pickled Jalapenos

Pulled Shor Rib Tacos

Pulled Short Rib Tacos

Pulled Short Rib Tacos with Pickled Onion and Jalapenos and Yogurt Crema

Pulled Short Rib Tacos with Pickled Onion and Jalapenos and Yogurt Crema

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.

Mild-mannered IT professional by day and food blogger by night, I founded foodiePrints with a single intention, to share my love of all things food. My first post shared a recipe. Many followed. Eventually, I learned Ottawa prepares and serves great food. Thereafter, I started meeting restaurateurs, chefs, cooks, farmers, and other local producers, all good people. Ideas for food-related content swirled in my head. foodiePrints grew into a place to put them. From exploring foreign and domestic cuisines to shopping for exotic ingredients and cobbling together my takes on dishes in my meager kitchen, there are stories to tell. Welcome to foodiePrints. Here, you will find stories about food and drink, cooking, and eating in Canada’s capital. Be it food-related or just food-for-thought, I hope you find something tasty here.