Braised Lambs’ Tongues

Lambs’ tongues are a cheap cut of meat which don’t get used very often. They take a while to cook, but are simple and worth every minute. This recipe is similar to the Irish Stew in its basic ingredients, but there are many additions that can change the whole dish: Meaux mustard can be added at the end; mushrooms and bacon can be cooked with the vegetables; celeriac, swede and parsnip can all be used to lift the dish. This eats very well with the Mashed Potatoes or just some crusty bread.

Ingredients

  • 12 lambs’ tongues
  • 1.75 litres (3 pints) Chicken Stock
  • 3 large onions
  • 450 g (1 lb) carrots
  • 8 celery sticks
  • 675 g ( lb) potatoes, peeled
  • 50 g (2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, 1 sprig each of fresh thyme, rosemary and sage, wrapped and tied in a strip of leek) or bouquet garni sachet
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Method

Cover the tongues with cold water in a large pan and bring to the boil. Drain, then refresh under cold water. Return the tongues to the same pan and cover with chicken stock. Bring to the simmer, cover and cook slowly for 2–2½ hours in the stock. Make sure they are covered with liquid all the time, adding more stock or water if necessary. Check after 2 hours. Remove one tongue from the stock and pinch or pierce with a knife; it will either give slightly or the knife will pierce easily if it is cooked. If not, continue to cook for a further 30 minutes then re-check. When cooked and still warm, remove them from the stock and take off the skins. These will peel off very easily. Strain and reserve the cooking liquor.

Cut the vegetables into 2.5 cm (1 in) pieces. Melt the butter and olive oil in a separate pan and cook the vegetables, garlic and bouquet garni for 5–10 minutes. Add the reserved cooking liquor, season with salt and pepper, bring to the simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

Cut the tongues into two or three pieces and add to the vegetables. Bring back to the simmer and continue to cook for a further 5–10 minutes. Remove the bouquet garni and taste for seasoning. Sprinkle with parsley and the stew is ready. The tongues will be tender and the vegetables will have taken on the flavours of the cooking liquor.

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