Friday, May 22, 2015

Lengua Tacos for Food n Flix

This month's Food n Flix  selection was The Goonies from 1985. This party is hosted by Heather of Girlichef and there is still time to join us.  You will find Heather's invitation post here.


I had never sat and watched the entire movie before.  I did see bits and parts of it because my kids were of an age to watch it when it came out even though it contains some "naughty words".

Since I am probably the only person in the world who had not seen this movie in the 80's, I will not bore you with a recap.  Suffice it to say it is a typical 80's genre movie with kids getting themselves into trouble and coming out heroes.  It was fun seeing all the actors in their younger days.

There were lots of food references in this movie.  Mostly by Chunk who was forever hungry but my favorite food reference scene is the one I shared with you at the top of the post when Mouth sasses off to Mama Fratelli and says he wants some Veal Scallopini and Fettuccine Alfredo.  Mama grabs him and a knife and says they only serve tongue.

I loved the look on the kids faces when she asked them if they liked tongue.  Had she asked me, I would have said "yes, please but make it cow's tongue".  Now, if you try to feed your family tongue they will probably have that same look of horror on their faces so.....Don't tell them.  Instead let them know you are eating Lengua, a wonderful delicacy, and unless you are Spanish or Mexican or they are fluent in the Spanish language, they won't have a clue and they will love it!

Don't let them see it like this.
Unless you have kids like my friend, Cam, who will be excited.
Make this on a day when they are in school or out playing.

I have fond memories of watching my Mom cook Beef Tongue.  I was fascinated as I watched her peel the skin off revealing beautiful pure meat.  Mom always sliced hers and we would make sandwiches with it.  I did slice some of mine up for sandwiches as well and then used the rest to make Mexican Sandwiches aka Tacos.  It is also good in soups or any braised dishes.  Tongue is all muscle so it needs to cook a long time to break it down and make it tender.

Cover the tongue with cold water, add your seasonings and aromatics.
I use salt, pepper, garlic, onions, celery and bay leaf.
Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and let simmer for at least one hour per lb or longer.
The skin on the tongue will turn white and the visible flesh will be easily pierced with a fork.
Add water as needed to keep tongue submerged.
Alternately, you can place it all in a crockpot for 8 hrs.

When done cooking, remove from pot and immediately submerge into ice water.
The skin will easily pull off.  Trim off any hard nodules or roots on the bottom side of the tongue.
You can now slice or dice your meat to use in sandwiches or meals.

I sliced some to use in sandwiches.

And diced the rest to use in today's recipe.

Now that you have done all the rest in secret, you can make dinner in the open.
Saute up some onions and pepper in butter.
Add the diced meat, some cilantro and some garlic.
Add a 1/4 c. of Tomatilla Salsa and cook until warmed through.
Serve on warmed flour tortillas topped with additional salsa and avocados.

Lengua Tacos

1 beef tongue
half an onion, quartered
1 stalk celery, broken into thirds
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, smashed
large pinch of kosher salt
5 or 6 peppercorns

Place all ingredients in a large stock pot.  Cover with cold water and place over med high heat.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for at least one hour per pound or longer, covering with additional water as needed.  Alternately you can place all ingredients in a crock pot and cook for 8 hrs.

Remove tongue from cooking pot and plunge immediately into an ice bath. Peel off the skin and cut off any hard nodules or roots from the bottom of the tongue. Dice up the remaining meat.

For Tacos

Remaining half of onion, sliced
1 jalapeno, cored, seeded and minced
3 sweet peppers, cored, seeded and sliced (I used one each of yellow, orange and red)
2 T. butter
Diced meat from lengua
1 t. Garden Gourmet Cilantro (or 1 T. fresh cilantro, chopped)
1 t. Garden Gourmet Chunky Garlic (or 1 garlic clove, minced)
1/4  c. Tomatilla Salsa,store bought or make your own, plus more for serving
1 Avocado, sliced
1 pkg. Flour Tortillas

Saute onion and peppers in butter over med high heat in a large skillet until tender.  Add lengua, cilantro, garlic and salsa, Continue to cook until heated through.  While filling is heating warm tortillas on a griddle or in a microwave.  Place filling onto tortilla, fold in half and drizzle with additional salsa and top with avocado slices.  Print Recipe


  1. Oh the memories this brought up. When I was little mom used to cook tongue. For some reason I want to say she used vinegar while boiling it. That is the smell I seem to remember. I can remember eating it and being horrified that I was eating a tongue. But we were poor and I was hungry. I don't think this is a dish I will be making. Just the thought of it (and the pictures) make me shudder. No offense, Wendy!! But today I'll pass!

  2. No offense taken Paula. My sister in law can't get over the fact that I actually had a cow's tongue in my freezer to cook

  3. Oh, my kids know it by "lengua", as well as tongue. We have tacos de lengua often! My kids love seeing me make tongue - it's such a fascination. I'm glad that you went this route...that's one of my favorite foodie moments in The Goonies, as well. I was THISCLOSE to using it as my inspiration, too...but cost won out. ;)

    1. Thanks so much for hosting Heather. This was a fun food n flix.

  4. OMG you are courageous, that is one offal I have issues with. Great challenge to make this for this month, I almost want to try it ;-)

    1. If you can get past the fact that it is cow tongue, I think you would love it. It really is a delicious dish.

  5. That looks good even to this vegetarian. And always a funny scene, good choice.

  6. Eek!! Kuddos, Wendy, I'd never be brave enough to do tongue! Love the movie inspiration!

    1. It was fun Amy and if you can get past the fact that it is tongue it is a very tasty meal.

  7. Wendy, you are a genius. I would have never thought of the tongue angle! :) (And, you were not the only person to have not seen this film in the 80s.)


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