Contains: Offal. Is: Paleo, Whole30, potentially nightshade-free.
Feel free to skip over my Offal Discussion. I’ve sometimes repeated parts of it, frankly. Honest, the recipe is down there! If you are not interested in lamb tongue, it is unlikely you’d be reading today’s post anyways… Seriously, it may not look like it, but this does taste wonderful!
Sometimes one can luck into good bits of farm-raised offal (no, it is not at all “awful”!) and I thank both my parents for instilling the sense of trying everything at least once (if not twice) when I was a kid. Seriously, I was not adventurous from about the age of two to five, but after that – which coincided with my landing my first hand-caught lake perch – I wanted to try just about everything. Didn’t mean I ended up liking everything (hello, cottage cheese salads, dates, and hazelnuts… goodbye!) but I did and do give everything the good ole “college try”. I even find that well-cooked carrots can be at least acceptable… especially where they belong, as in a good mirepoix. (Okay, there are some faux-foods I have no desire ever to try, but that’s a different tale.) At any rate, at age 11 or 12, very willingly I even tried rattlesnake. I don’t recall the taste, other than that we all agreed it tasted kinda like chicken, but not really like chicken. (I’d eat it again.)
I’ve discussed offal before. A lot of our food prejudices develop from what we’ve been exposed to. A frequent staple at the dinner table was beef tongue. (Which doesn’t explain my dislike of cold cottage cheese in salads, I know. Mother loved that!) I acknowledge I have some of my own quibbles on certain food types, but I’m happy that offal isn’t one of them. For one, there’s a lot of nutritional value in many items deemed offal, and for another, a lot of it really does taste good.
Mom used to save up old dill pickle jars after we ate the pickles, with all the juices still in the jars. My parents (both of them were cooks) would find smoked or un-smoked beef tongue, and simmer the tongue for hours in the pickle juice along with pickling spices, and any supplemental water as needed. They’d peel off the tongue skin when the tongue was ready, then slice and serve along with whatever veggies (potatoes, spinach, cabbage, whatever???) was handy as an aside. We’d eat, with mustard or horseradish. Leftovers would transform into sandwiches. Always seemed totally normal to me!
They never got hold of lambs’ tongues, but I’m sure the process would have been similar – no need to cook the lambs’ tongues as long, however. Being smaller, they are much more tender.
So. I decided to adapt that idea to these lambs’ tongues, sourced from free-range sheep. I had turnip greens… and an idea was hatched. Or born. Or, whatever.
(Yes, it is sometimes hard to source turnip greens, although if you have a farmers’ market or a food source that provides locally raised veggies, you may have this happen more easily. If not… so many of those other and various cooking greens can be substituted in the place of turnip greens!)
Prep Time: 10 minutes.
Cook Time: 2 hours + maybe 10 minutes more.
Rest Time: Enough to remove the skin, maybe 5 minutes.
Cuisine: Nose to tail.
Leftovers: Yes. Refrig, re-heat.
Lamb Tongues with Turnip Greens
- Around 1 pound / 450 grams to 1.25 pounds 570 grams of lamb tongues. (My package contained 6 tongues, but the number will vary depending on the size of the lambs involved. The weight of mine was somewhere between the two numbers.)
- 1 cup dill pickle juice (save from any dill pickles you eat along the way).
- 2 tablespoons “corned beef spices”. (See note below to punt if you don’t have such a mix.)
- 1 bunch of turnip greens. (Alternatively, beet greens, Swiss chard or kale – pick a variety of the latter that isn’t bitter, as some kale can be. Fresh spinach can be used in a pinch.)
- Ghee (or butter).
- Prepared horseradish, or a good Dijon or brown mustard, to taste.
Place the thawed lambs’ tongues in a sauce pot to which you will also add the dill pickle juice, and around two cups of water – more if the tongues aren’t covered. Add the corned beef spices. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to a simmer, and allow to simmer for 2 hours (check to see if you need to add more water).
Turn the saucepan off. Remove the tongues from the broth, and gently peel off the tongue skin with your fingers, once the tongues are cool enough to handle. Discard the skins. Return the tongues to the broth, to keep them warm, and set aside.
Steam your (turnip or other) greens. I find that setting up the steamer to get to steaming temperature (with that water below), and then adding the greens, to steam for about 5 minutes, will usually yield the best results. If you are indeed using spinach, 3 minutes appears to be a good maximum.
Remove your steamed greens to a serving bowl (or divvy this into halves and put in the bowls you’ll be eating from). Spritz with a tablespoon of the vinegar, and add the ghee or butter, and mix so that the leaves incorporate this. Adding a twist of fresh-ground pepper is not amiss here.
Pull the tongues out of the broth, and add them either to the serving dish, or add half of them to each individual bowl atop the greens.
Provide prepared horseradish and/or the mustard for diners to use as they see fit.
NOTE: Making a “corned beef spice” seasoning recipe:
While I have yet to make my own from scratch at home, this recipe seems to cover all the bases:
If you have a nightshade sensitivity, leave out the red pepper flakes.
This recipe also talks its way into the Full Plate Thursday link-up. (See what I did there?)