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Beef Tongue (Luenga/Zunge)


This exquisite tongue has biblical origins. On the verses describing Abraham’s preparations for his angelic guests (Genesis 18:6–7) the Midrash extended the “three” from Abraham’s instruction to Sarah, “Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal” to the calf in the subsequent sentence, stating, “Abraham slaughtered three calves so that he might be able to set a tongue with mustard before each guest.” This dish will elevate any occasion. 



Cover the tongue with cold water, bring to a boil, and drain.


Cover the tongue again with fresh water and add the remaining ingredients.


Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until fork-tender (about 50 minutes per pound, two to three and a half hours). When tender, the tip of the tongue will feel tender when pressed and tiny bones in the root will come out easily. A calf’s tongue takes about and hour and fifteen minutes to cook.


Before the tongue cools, peel off the skin (taste buds). Strain the cooking liquid and let the tongue cool in the broth. Store in the broth until ready to use.


Cut into quarter-inch-thick slices. (Thinner slices tend to fall apart when reheating.)


If desired, serve with mustard.