About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Monday, February 13, 2006
Paper Chef # 15
The Paper Chef competition is open again over at slurp & burp and even though I can't publish a photo of my dish, I'll have a go anyway.

The list of ingredients is as follows:-

1. Beets
2. Pears
3. Limes
4. Aphrodisiacs

For the beets, I'm choosing beetroots. As to the aphrodisiac, I'm choosing pickled beef tongue. Originally, oysters seemed to suggest themselves, nay leap out and say "choose me, choose me" and indeed they would be a terrific replacement for the tongue in the following recipe, but I wanted to challenge in the Paper Chef Super Saver.

You want me to explain my choice of tongue as an aphrodisiac, don't you? Well it's a reference to the human tongue, which is an extremely powerful aphrodisiac. I'm not elaborating further other than to say, you are with me or you are not. If you are not, back to Birds and Bees 101 with you. This recipe is also a homage to my wife, who is Polish. She adores tongue (leave it alone, okay.) and I'm combining it with a traditional Eastern European dish of grated beetroot with horseradish.

Other garnishes include lentils braised with vegetables and a stir fry of lightly spiced cucumber with pears and beetroot leaves (another super saver, using all the beetroot plant). The limes will be used to stop the pear from browning and to dress the beetroot puree and in another super saver moment, the zest will be poached and used to garnish the tongue.

Pickled Tongue with Lentils, Beetroot, Cucumbers and Pears

1 Beef tongue, pickled - available from continental butchers.
zest of two limes, finely cut into strips
1 quantity simple syrup, made from one part water, two parts sugar
2 plump beetroots
1 tablespoon horseradish from the jar or less if fresh
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup lentils du puy or similar, soaked for two hours
1 carrot, diced small
1 medium onion, diced small
1 rib celery, diced small
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
2 cucumbers, seeds scooped out and diced
2 pears, peeled, cored and diced, soaked in some lime juice
2 tablespoons oil
6 beetroot leaves, shredded
1 tablespoon sechuan pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Place the tongue into a large pot of water and bring to a bare simmer. Cook for two hours and check for doneness with a needle, if it passes easily through it's done, if not continue cooking until done. Leave to cool in liquid and when it can be handled, skin and trim all gristle. If left to cool too much, it will be harder to peel. Place back in liquid.

While the tongue is cooking, place lime zest in simple syrup and poach until tender. Drain, reserving sryup which is now lime flavoured and can be used to make cocktails - more super saving.

Dry fry the sechuan pepper, white pepper and salt until fragrant. Cool and grind in spice grinder or mortar and pestle.

Place the unpeeled beetroots in a pot, cover with water and cook until tender, about thirty minutes. Leave to cool, then peel. On the part of the grater that turns food to mush, grate the beetroots. Add the teaspoon of sugar, juice of lime and taste. There needs to be a balance between sweet and sour, beetroots vary in sweetness, so you may need to add more lime juice or sugar. When balanced, add horseradish. If using fresh, add less and taste. It just needs to be a hint of horseradish. Season and set aside. This will be served at room temperature

The lentils have been presoaked as there is very little cooking water used. Put the lentils in a pot with the carrot, onion, celery, bay leaves thyme and water barely to cover, season and bring to the simmer. Cook for twenty to thirty minutes until done and all the water has gone, add more water if it runs out before the lentils are cooked.

Just before the lentils are cooked, heat the oil in a pan or wok, add the cucumbers and briefly stir fry, then add the pear, cook for a few seconds more, then add spice mix and beetroot leaves. Take from the heat.

To serve, place a mound of lentils in the centre of a round plate, top with five overlapping slices of the pretty pink tongue. Garnish with lime zest. Spoon or pipe a circle of grated beetroot around the lentils. Around the beetroot spoon the cucumber and pear mixture.

And there you have it.

Now as to the reasons I think this is a super saver.

1. tongue is cheap.
2. used all of the lime.
3. used most of the beetroot.
4. leftover simple syrup can be used to make a drink (hope this is bonus point).
5. everything is store cupboard or garden, except tongue.
6. saved on taking a picture. I can't take a picture, so I have to make a virtue of it somehow.

Hope you all like it. I did.
  posted at 2:24 pm

At 9:16 am, Blogger MagicTofu said...

Pickled beef tongue! That is something we don't see very often around here! And I also believe it to be a very wise choice but i won't go further on this either.

I love the use of beet leaves in your dish especially with lentils.

Although you don't have a picture, the description you provided let me imagine a very interesting plating effort.

At 9:06 am, Blogger Stephanie said...

Snicker. Leaving it alone. LOL.

Might give the recipe a try one day although I have never cooked tongue myself. Very interesting recipe.

At 11:08 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi MagicTofu, I never really thought about the use of tongue as different, as we eat it regularly. Wife D. is not too happy about eating beetroot leaves, radish leaves or anything like that, she calls them pig food, so I have to sneak them in.

Hi MM, thanks for that ;-), if the thought of cooking a tongue doesn't appeal, you could use smoked tongue, which is already prepared. Buy a piece, warm it through and cut into slices. I really recommend the beetroot with horseradish as a side dish. It goes with anything from fish to roast beef. Traditionaly the souring agent used is vinegar.

At 12:04 pm, Blogger Angela said...

You have demonstrated much restraint.....leaving it alone. Much more than I have....so I'll make this quick. Seriously, you are driving me to vegetarianism. Tongue? I don't think my palate could not handle that certain delicacy, pickled or not......but I am sure you made it exquisitely.

At 5:26 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tounge. Cool!

And people thought I was weird for using snails, hehe.

This recipe llooks great, though I'll have to try pickling a toung on my own since the only way I can find it here here is in raw form ;-)


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