Lengua de Cerdo Estofada
(braised pork tongue)
Tongue, most delicious of all the variety meats, is finished in a braising sauce of onion, cinnamon and wine. For a more substantial dish, serve with thick chips fried crisp in olive oil (chips served with stews is a very Spanish habit).
Serves 6–8 as a tapa
1 kg pork tongue
1 carrot, scrubbed and chopped
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 celery stick, chopped
1 bay leaf
For the braising sauce
2 large onions, peeled and finely sliced
4–5 tablespoons olive oil
1 small cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon pimenton (Spanish paprika)
1 glass oloroso sherry or dry cider
salt and pepper
Scrub the tongue under the tap and leave to soak in salted cold water for an hour or two. Drain and transfer to a saucepan with enough water to cover generously. Bring to the boil, skim and add the aromatics – carrot, onion, celery, bay leaf, peppercorns – and a little salt. Cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 40–50 minutes, until the tongue is still firm but cooked through. Reserve the broth and drain the tongue. As soon as the tongue is cool enough to handle, slip off the skin – it comes off quite easily – and remove any little bones and extra fat from the root end. Slice thickly and reserve.
Meanwhile, prepare the braising sauce. Set the onions to fry very gently in the olive oil in a frying pan, salting lightly and allowing 30 minutes for the onion to soften without browning. Add the cinnamon stick, pimenton, sherry or cider and bubble up to evaporate the alcohol. Transfer to a casserole with the tongue slices, and add enough of the reserved broth to submerge everything completely. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat, cover with a tightfitting lid and leave to simmer gently for about an hour, until the juices are reduced to a thick sauce and the meat is perfectly tender (check and add more broth if it seems to be drying out). Taste and season.
From Squirrel Pie (and other stories) by Elisabeth Luard (Bloomsbury £16.99), bloomsbury.com