Whether you’re newly obsessed with slow cookers or a decades-old devotee, you’re going to love The Chef and the Slow Cooker. James Beard Award-winning chef Hugh Acheson’s new book is devoted to the ultimate kitchen appliance, which is having a major culinary renaissance. Ever thought you’d use your slow-cooker to make one of the meatiest treats in the food world? Grab some rye bread and prepare to make this mustard-braised beef tongue.
You can eat this dish any way you please, but I recommend serving it thinly sliced on a piece of buttered toasted rye bread, schmeared with pickled mustard seeds and topped with caramelized onions. The meaty, deep, rich flavor of tongue is like steak crossed with a little bit of liver, and to me, it’s one of the best cuts of meat there is. Don’t tell the kids they are eating tongue, and I promise they’ll love it, too.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small sweet onion, large-diced
- 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
- 1 quart Beef Shin Stock
- 1/4 cup whole-grain mustard
- 4 pounds beef tongue, brined overnight
- 6 bay leaves
- kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground caraway seeds
Pickled Mustard Seeds
- 1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds
- 1 cup champagne vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1 gallon cold water
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted
- 6 black peppercorns
For the brine
Combine all the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a vigorous boil over high heat. Remove the pot from the heat and let the brine cool to room temperature.
Fully immerse beef tongue in the solution in a large nonreactive container. (A gallon-size heavy-duty sealable plastic bag works nicely, but make sure you set it in a large bowl in case it leaks.) Place the container in the fridge or a large cooler and let it mellow out for 24 hours.
For the pickled mustard seeds
Place the mustard seeds in a small pot, cover with cold water, and bring the liquid to a boil. Strain the mustard seeds, discarding the water, and repeat this process 3 more times.
In the same pot, combine 1 cup of cold water with the vinegar, sugar, salt, and the blanched mustard seeds. Bring to a boil, and then remove from the heat. Pour the contents into a small sealable container and refrigerate it overnight.
When you’re ready to use the pickled mustard seeds, scoop them from the brine, straining off any excess liquid.
For the tongue
Set a slow cooker on the high setting, add the olive oil, and heat it until it begins to shimmer. Then add the onion and garlic and cook for 10 minutes, until softened. Add the stock and the mustard, and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the beef tongue, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and caraway to the slow cooker. Cover with the lid, reduce the setting to low, and cook for 8 hours.
Once it is tender, remove the tongue from the slow cooker and let it cool until it is comfortable to handle. Carefully remove the tough exterior membrane by simply peeling it off with your hands. Return the tongue to the braising mixture and leave it there until you are ready to eat. Before serving, thinly slice the beef tongue against the grain. Serve it up with some Pickled Mustard Seeds.