My introduction to cooking and baking didn’t end there, not only did I learn how to bake I was also shown many traditional dishes that have all but disappeared from the tea table. As in Aunties Jean’s house tea time was the high light of the day, and one of her favourites in sandwiches was pressed home cooked tongue with beetroot , not to everybody’s liking but a fantastic combination of the rich tongue and sweet beetroot in harsh malt vinegar. A glorious combination.
A whole tongue can look quite daunting and it does stink! Your perseverance will be rewarded; one tongue will produce many sandwiches of course. However in can be used in many things, thinly sliced in a salad with hard boiled eggs and a sharp vinaigrette it is fantastic, don’t tell your dinner guests, they will love it. It can be served hot with mash and mushy peas with plenty of malt vinegar another favourite of mine. It also keeps in the fridge for a week or you can freeze it pre sliced in between sheets of cling film for when you have a craving!
For many sandwiches, six for a main course
1 salted ox tongue soaked over night and rinsed
1 carrot peeled whole
1 peeled onion studded with clove
1 stick of celery
1 bay leaf
handful of parsley stalks
( I but garlic in but I don’t thing Auntie jean knew what it was)
Cover tongue in cold water in a very large oven proof pot, she used an enamel oval dish with a tight fitting lid you might see one in a charity shop, if so buy it they are fantastic for this and many other long cooked dishes
Place everything with enough water to cover in large pot, bring to a rapid boil and skim of the scum (there will be loads) Transfer everything to you chosen container with tight fitting lid or tin foil and place in a an oven at 140oc for up to 3 hours check it is cooked buy inserting a knife there should be no resistance, have patience. When cooked allow to rest for twenty minutes then drain and place on a chopping board, Wearing rubber gloves it will be very hot still peel of the skin like peeling a large tongue shaped banana., this must be done when its still hot or the skin will never come off! Then place the tongue on a china dish with a board on top and place a Victorian family bible on top and leave it over night to press. Next morning chill it in the fridge, when it gets to tea time thinly slice and place in white bread sandwiches with thickly sliced beetroot
To serve the tongue as a hot main course with mash and the best mushy peas in the world requires a bit of planning but it’s worth it. Serve up your tongue sliced thickly on a great platter moistened with a little of the cooking liquor. Hand round the mash and mushy peas (see separate recipes). Allow people to add more vinegar if they feel the need and hot English mustard in a must!