Assorted Livestock 2: Beef tongue (牛舌)

Beef tongue is the one of the best foods around. Remove the tough skin, shave off the membrane, slice, and cook it together with braising beef.

It can also be salted and air-dried in the winter for eating the following year. When prepare thus, it has all the qualities of an excellent ham.

雜牲單::牛舌
牛舌最佳。去皮、撕膜、切片,入肉中同煨。亦有冬醃風乾者,隔年食之,極似好火腿。

Calf tongues are a bit more delicate then beef tongues, but really they’re more or less the same thing. (Credit: P.Lameiro)

As one goes through Yuan Mei’s recipes, one slowly realizes that though he had a keen interest in gastronomy, he likely never set foot into the kitchen to see how the dishes were actually prepared. If anything he just asked his personal chef Yang-er (楊二), and Yang-er would gave some very general answers that filtered out a bunch of valuable information. For example, in preparing beef tongue, one has to first boil it in order to remove the tough and spiky outer skin of the tongue. If this isn’t done, skinning the tongue would be very difficult at best. We clearly don’t see this important step here. Perhaps Yang-er thought this step too trivial to mention and omitted it, and Yuan Mei may not have never thought to enquire further? This leaves one wondering what other important bits of instructions are being left out of these recipes.

In any case, the two beef tongue recipes here sounds pretty good. Braising different cuts of meat from the same animal together is typically a good thing since it improve the meat’s flavours and textures. In this case it means that the beef tongue, which typically does not taste too much like “beef”, would get a bolder and beefier flavour.

I am especially intrigued by the second receipe for tongue ham, but it’s too bad that the instructions for making it are almost non-existent. I guess that’s yet another recipe where it’s up to the reader to rediscover how to prep it.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s