Saturday, April 12, 2014

Holy cow

That there is one-fourth of a pasture-raised Ohio cow. Well, maybe a little bit more than a fourth. My cow-purchasing mates did not want the tail, tongue, heart or liver, so guess who ended up with those?


Now then, dearest reader, while your humble hostess is pretty damn far away from the prepper set, the anti-vax set and the crazy-diet-of-the-day set, she is starting to pay attention to what the hell is in our food. A whole helluva a lot of it ain't real pretty.

Yes, I will probably turn into Bad Erin occasionally. No, I will not wrinkle my nose rudely at your Aunt Helen's Company Surprise Casserole at the pot luck. But the Torani sugar free flavored syrups? Gone.

Yeah, yeah.

Hey man, does anyone know what the hell I should do with this heart and tongue?

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Anonymous said...

Two things, well three. If you are a bit gouty then the high Vit A in the heart tongue and liver will drive it nuts. The heart is perhaps the more difficult and gram for gram isn't really worth the effort. But the slow-cooker slash crock-pot slash Dutch oven is your friend here. Both the H and T will require long- very long- and low. The goal for both would be where you could spread it like a paté. Well near it anyway. But in essence it will melt.
In the past when cookers ran all day everyday cooking slow was easy. You stuck it on the lower oven and forgot about it.

Erin O'Brien said...

I refer to this method, roaring40, as Cook The Living Shit Out Of It Until The Living Shit Is Cooked Out Of It and I am well versed in it.

John Venlet said...

Erin, can't offer you any suggestions about the heart, but with the tongue, I'd suggest you find a Mexican recipe for cooking it. I've had some real tasty cow tongue tacos. I don't how the little restaurant, Seven Mares, cooks the tongue, but the tacos go down easy. Cow tongue, onion, and cilantro wrapped in corn tortillas, and then generously slathered with your favorite Mexican hot sauce or salsa. Yummy.

Erin O'Brien said...


DogsDontPurr said...

Wow...I'm kinda jealous. I bet that beef is going to taste amazing compared to run of the mill supermarket beef.

How does it work out cost wise? Is it a lot more expensive or does it come out cheaper because you have so much quantity?

Al The Retired Army Guy said...

It's not necessary to cook this (or even grind it into a pate) until the $hit is cooked out of it. The true measure of a great cook is someone who can take those bits no one wants and turn it into something magical. That's the case here.

I've had both beef tongue and beef heart, and done with care, they can be things of beauty. The issue is that they are high in connective tissue (they are muscles that get used a lot), and hence tough. The aim here is to convert that collagen to gelatin, as in a pot roast. Moist heat cooking methods are probably your best bet, though you could successfully BBQ both if you were careful about moisture loss, with the attendant dry product.

If I were you, I would braise this in a liquid of your choice (stock, beer, wine, water, etc.) until they're tender. Think about 250 degrees F in the oven, or low to medium low heat on the stovetop (I like using an oven for braises at it is a much more steady, even heat). Saute some aromatics, use whatever herbs or spices you like, etc. and have at it. Some take the tough outer skin of the tongue off before cooking, while others remove it afterwards - totally your call. With the heart, make sure to remove any membranes or other tissues - they're not fun to eat - before cooking.

Finally, you can do what I do - make pastrami out of it. Cure it, dry it, smoke it to an internal temp of 150 degrees (I generally hot smoke such things at about 180 degrees or so). Slice, and you'll swear you're eating pastrami made from brisket.


Al The Retired Army Guy said...

As for the tongue and it's use in Mexican cuisine, this is very true. The cooking method used is braising, and it is then sliced and put on tacos, sopes, in burritos, etc. There are a bunch of Mexican places where I live that do this, and almost always order lengua (tongue) as one of the meats.


Anonymous said...

So would the lil O'Brien have an opinion on this connective tissue meal?

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.


Erin O'Brien said...

Thanks for the suggestions Al. I'll let you know how I do.

As for Lil' OB, that kid is unbelievable! When I'm carving a whole tenderloin into steaks, she stands next to me waiting for juicy little bits to eat. RAW.

She's tries just about anything, and was really excited to see we got the tongue and heart. I bought her some prepared tongue once, but it was weird--embedded in aspic, so I hope to do this one up right.

As for those membranes and the "other tissue," I collectively refer to them (and any other foodstuff parts that defy mastication) as "chewies."

Erin O'Brien said...

Oh, DDP, almost forgot .... I figure this ran me a little less than $5 a pound. We'll see how it goes. I've had this farmer's beef before and it was good. Haven't had any of this meat yet.

Some of the cuts are weird and they don't look like what you buy at the grocery, but what the hell do I care? I'll cook every last bit of it.

I'm not intimidated by this sort of thing, but I'll admit, the heart and tongue will be a bit of a challenge.

Kristian said...

I just cooked some tongue last week.

Put it in a crock pot and put in enough water to cover it (you can season it if you want, but not necessary).

Cook on low for 8-9 hours (overnight) and, once you can spear it easily with a fork - it's done!

Peel the skin off (you can make a cut down the tongue first) and then cut the tongue into slices.

I make tongue tacos with it. Really good!

For the heart - I just cut into pieces and make a stew. At first, it smelled like liver (blood) but then that passed and it just tasted like beef.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I've been reading these post for several days now and think I've finally figured it out. Cooking "unusual" beast parts until they're edible is the modern day version of alchemists turning lead to gold. No?