braised ox tongue, served with a mustard, caper and gherkin sauce – serves 6

1 ox tongue, about 1.5 kg
1.5 litres chicken stock
1 bouquet garni of flat leaf parsley, thyme, bay leaf
2 cloves
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 stick celery, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
for the Sauce:
65g butter
4 shallots, finely chopped
200ml dry white wine
200ml cooking juices from the tongue
200ml whipping cream
6 small gherkins, diced
1 tablespoon capers, thoroughly washed and chopped
8 tarragon leaves, chopped
50g parsley, chopped
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
salt and freshly ground pepper
a squeeze of lemon juice

Salt the tongue by soaking in brine for 7 days. Alternatively have your butcher salt the tongue for you. Best Butchers are happy to do this. Salting helps to keep the meat pink otherwise it will turn a rather unappetising grey. Soak in cold water for 4 hours before using

Place the tongue in a large casserole, cover with fresh cold water, and boil for 3 minutes.

Drain off the water

Add the chicken stock, chopped vegetables, cloves and bouquet garni to the pan, bring to the boil, skim, and simmer gently for about 3 1/2 hours

Remove the tongue and plunge into cold water. Place on a tea cloth and peel off the skin carefully, and remove the small bones at the root of the tongue, together with any excess fat, glands, and gristle. return the tongue to the stock, and keep warm.

Put 15g of the butter in a large sauté pan; dice the remainder of the butter and chill. Sweat the shallots in the butter in the pan. Add the wine, then boil to reduce to about 2 tablespoons.

Add the measured amount of cooking juices, and boil again to reduce to 100 ml

Add the cream, bring to the boil, then add the gherkin and capers, tarragon, parsley and mustard. Finally whisk in the cold diced butter.

Adjust seasoning, add a few drops of lemon juice if necessary. keep warm.

Reheat the tongue in the cooking stock.

Slice the tongue into slices of about 1 cm thick, and arrange on individual warmed plates or on a serving dish.

Pour the sauce over and around the slices.

This gives an open texture to the meat.

If you want cold pressed meat with a closer texture, after removing the skin fit the tongue into a pudding basin or similar close fitting round bowl. Over the top, place a small plate that fits within the basin and weigh it down by placing a heavy object on top. Allow it to cool for an hour or so and then move the bowl to the fridge to set overnight


This is absolutely delicious and inexpensive - part of my drive to get everyone to eat more offaly dishes