Tacos de Lengua, or tongue tacos, are a very popular Mexican street food. Actually they are a very popular food in general as many Mexican households will cook tongue regularly. I recently make a long and detailed article for how to cook beef tongue and included a European recipe, however if you are trying to do something more casual then these delicious tacos de lengua are for you.
Cooking The Tongue
To cook the tongue just bring the meat and beef stock to a boil, reduce to a simmer and put the lid on, and let braise for 4 hours. This is super easy as it is set it and forget it, so you can totally start this in the morning and go about your day.
After four hours make a small incision and peel off the skin. Place the tongue back into the pot of stock and braise for another half hour. This is the basics, but of course you can read my whole article for how to cook beef tongue for more details and pictures.
Making Tacos de Lengua (tongue tacos)
After doing the basic steps for preparing tongue, it’s time to turn that meat into tasty tacos de lengua. This recipe is my favorite way to do it, although the best would be just buying them from an abuela with a push cart on the street.
To start, chop up the tongue into small pieces. You want to make sure to mix everything together as the back of the tongue is more fatty and thus more tender than the tip. So mixing everything is the best way to even it out. Then add the pieces back into the beef stock to simmer for another 30 minutes, this time with the lid off.
At this point the meat is perfectly tasty, however it wouldn’t be proper without a spicy soup to pour over your tacos. Luckily I have a quick cheat way to do that.
Start by removing all the meat to a bowl and setting aside. Into a blender add half of a white onion, 6 cloves of garlic, and 5-6 serrano chilies. You can remove the seeds to reduce how spicy it is. Then just add in a couple cups of the hot beef stock right from the pot and blitz it until liquid.
Next is simply a matter of building the tongue tacos. If you are entertaining by throwing a garden party or a faux taco truck party then you can just set everything out on a table. The only things I add to tacos de lengua as garnish is diced white onion and rough chopped cilantro.
Don’t Eat Tongue? What About Giving My Grilled Octopus Tacos A Try?
Traditionally you should use corn tortillas, however those are impossible to find where I live so I just cut down some flour ones to street taco size. I warm up the tortillas on an open flame and lay them down on a plate. Scoop over some tongue meat, sprinkle on onion and cilantro, then a good pour of the spicy tacos de lengua soup. These are messy tacos so serve with plenty of napkins!
Tacos de Lengua (Mexican Tongue Tacos)
- 1.5 kg Beef Tongue
- 2 liters Beef Stock
- 250 ml Red Wine
- 1 large White Onion
- 6 cloves Garlic
- 6 Serrano Chilies
- 1 bunch Cilantro
- 12 Corn Tortillas or use flour if you can't find corn
- In a pot or dutch oven add the beef stock and tongue and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, put the lid on, and braise for 4 hours.
- Remove the tongue and peel off the skin by making a small incision down the middle. Return the tongue to the stock for another half hour.
- Remove the tongue and chop into small pieces. Add back into the simmering stock for another half hour. Remove tongue meat using a slotted spoon or ladle and set aside.
- In a blender add half of the white onion, the garlic, and the chilies. Also add in a couple cups of the hot stock. Blitz until liquid.
- Heat up the tortillas on an open flame and compile the tacos de lengua. Add a scoop of tongue meat, some chopped white onion and cilantro, and spoon over a generous amount of the spicy soup. Enjoy!
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