Saturday, 6 June 2009

Fancy a tongue sandwich?

Preparing, cooking and pressing an ox tongue is probably a bit of an old fashioned thing to do these days, but quite honestly it's well worth the effort. The meat is fabulous. It's like beefy offal. It's very silky and quite rich. If you've ever had the cooked supermarket stuff and didn't like it, then trust me, you'd like this, it has so much more flavour.

Tongues used to be readily available quite a few years back brined in plastic pouches in the supermarket. Our local Salisbury's definitely used to sell them. I just don't think they're terribly popular today though. To be fair they're a bit gruesome looking and of course they've been in someone else's mouth haven't they?

To cook an ox tongue, firstly, give it a good wash and then poach it in water with the usual suspects: onion, carrots and celery for between 3 and 4 hours, depending on the size of your tongue.

When it's cooked, drain and cool slightly but don't let it go cold. Remove the grisly stuff underneath the tongue and peel the top. I find this bit bizarrely satisfying - like peeling little bits of sun burnt skin eeeeuw.

When the wee beasty is skinned and you've removed the nasties underneath, coil it round and put it in a container - I use a basin - where it fits really snugly, then pop a saucer and something very heavy on the top and refrigerate overnight.

The jelly will ooze and set the meat. It's lovely just with crusty bread and sharp pickles or obviously in a sandwich where mustard is vital. You've just got to have mustard in your sandwich or the tongue police will come round and take it away.


  1. Do you know what? I don't think I've tried ox tongue. Don't know why - shall give it ago next time I see some. I expect they are quite cheap from the butcher...

  2. I've never been a big fan myself and the first picture is not quite making me think yum yum but I bet if I could get over the mental hurdle it probably tastes really lovely. Maybe I should throw caution to the wind and give it a go.

  3. I love pressed tongue - it reminds me of shooter's lunches in the pub in Gloucestershire, it was a speciality of one of the men who used to bring it to add to the feast.

  4. Ooh well, I admit to going a bit funny when I saw the pics, but you may have me convinced thats its something worth tasting! (as long as someone else does what you do to it and peels all the bits off etc)


    Love Julia xxx

  5. Great to see you back Jan. As for Tongue - hmmmm - Like Goodshoeday says, I bet it tastes great but I think I'd struggle getting over the sheer horror of eating a massive tongue. Strange though that I'll quite happily eat most other bits of an animal.

  6. I love a good pressed tongue - I remember finding one in a bucket at my friends house once (her parents were farmers and all the food seemed to be kept in buckets!!). I haven't had a real one for ages - I just have to make do with the poor substitute from Supermarkets.

  7. My daughter had to disect one of these on her midwifery course .... she called him Tony the Tongue .... looks revolting but tastes lovely .... I remember my old grandad boiling up a pig's head for brawn a long long time ago.

  8. Hello!
    We use to eat boiled spicy tongue..
    I like it very much!
    Greetings from Italy


  9. I saw a massive lump of tongue on the shelf at Waitrose the other day and I must admit I was intrigued, something I've never cooked before. Maybe I'll go back and see if it's still there!

  10. Tongue against tongue . . . I wonder who is tasting who!?