Ox tongue party and nose to tail eating.

If you are looking for a very cheap way to eat good meat. This recipe is for you.

The story of this recipe starts an evening of winter in Uppsala

I want to find back the taste of my childhood: the beef tongue long boiled for 5 hours and served with a generous sauce of Madeira wine.

The cooked beef tongue, served with a pumpkin gratin. My grand-fa usually adds a marrow bone that you eat on bread.

I run to the nearest Ica. Problem, no beef tongue is available, but they can provide it to me if I order it. Just call them or send an email and in three days it should be there.

So I did.

A butchery in Sweden, not an offal to be seen.

Three days later, I get two of them wrapped in a vacuum bag package. I pay...

The price is 120 kr for a little bit more than 3 kilos meat.

I double check at the ticket... That means that the kilo of meat is 40 kr*, a little bit less than 4 euros.

I feel so sorry.

No one buys that here. That means that the meat experience is potentially a wasteful**, monotonic, insipid race for a grilled steak.

They don't know what they miss :)!

Beef tongue with Madeira sauce (The French grand-fa style!):

  • 1 beef tongue of about 1 kg
  • Water
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1 "bouquet garni" i.e., several sprigs of parsley, one or two thyme branches and a bay leaf on a stalk of celery.
  • 5 Carrots (or one carrot per person)
  • 1 leak

For the sauce:

  • 50 g of butter
  • 40 g of Flour
  • 1 shot glass of Madeira Wine
  • 3 table spoon of condensed tomato

Step 1: Boil the tongue

Take the tongue and throw it in a large pot of water, the larger the better, the tongue must be completely immersed. Add the stock and the bouquet garni. Leave it to boil for 3 hours and a half minimum (4 or 5 hours is recommended depending how big is the tongue.).
Thirty minutes before the end add the carrots and the leak to cook.

Note: if you need the tongue to cook faster, you can cut the tongue is smaller pieces, but then you miss the spectacular effect :).

The tongue is ready. Let's make the sauce!

Step 2: Make the sauce

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, but don't let it brown — about 2 minutes. Add the condensed tomato, add progressively about half a liter of the water in which the tongue has boiled, continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring it to a boil. Add the Madeira shot, add salt and pepper to taste, lower the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat.

The taste?

The sensation is unique. Because it is long boiled the tongue seems to melt like butter in your mouth. The Madeira sauce wine is generous and gets married with the after taste of the tongue in a longue lasting combo. Because it is big and can be kept warm, it is ideal for big parties where you have to wait for many people (at least 7 people). 

The tongue once cooked. People are not accostumed anymore to see it so they take a lot of photo during my oxtongue parties :)

Side Notes:
*In this country a kilo of lemon is around the same price and a kilo of tomato goes up to 90 kr a kilo. This experience happened 3 years ago in ICA svamptorget. Prices may vary. In fancy butcheries like saluhallen or in big icas that make it available on site the very max you will pay is 100 kr per kg which is still extremely cheap for beef.
**At the best this offal would have been put in dog meat (thought I doubt there is enough dogs in sweden to eat all the offal, reformed hen, and other eatable by-products of the meat consumption, curiously I could not find precise statistics on this). The only number I got is that 60% of a cow is eaten by us humans.
To go further:
Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson


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