Serious Eats: Recipes

Sous-Vide 101: Tacos de Lengua

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

The best tongue tacos I've had anywhere come from Rosticeria Cancun in East Boston's Maverick Square. Chef/owner Lionel Betancol braises the beef tongues in a rich tomato and onion-based broth before piling it into soft corn tortillas. It's an incredible dish, and one that'll make a believer out of anyone who's ever been afraid to try tongue. It's also quite involved to make.

Enter sous-vide.

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Not only does cooking a tongue sous-vide make for complete set-it-and-forget-it ease (as it does with any braised or confit dish), it also creates a more flavorful finished product as the tongue slowly stews in its own juices.

Use those same juices combined with a bit of canned chipotle, and you've made yourself an easy salsa to go with it. I like to cook down the braised tongue in a skillet until it starts getting a bit crispy on the edges. Tongue is very moist, so you'll definitely want to go with the traditional double-wrap of corn tortillas.

Note: If you don't have a water bath, combine the seasoned tongue, cilantro, onion, tomato, and fat in a medium saucepan and add 1 cup chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a sub-simmer, cover and cook until completely tender, about six hours, topping up with extra liquid as necessary.

Allow to cool and continue recipe as directed from step two. The best way to heat corn tortillas is to dip one in a bowl of water and transfer it to a hot non-stick or cast-iron skillet. Cook on the first side for about 30 seconds to a minute, then flip it over and cook just until the surface moisture has evaporated. It should be lightly charred in spots. Place the tortilla in a clean folded dish towel and repeat with the rest, stacking them as you go.

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