Lengua Estofado

Lengua Estofado is the perfect addition to your holiday or special occasion menu. With melt-in-your-mouth tender ox tongue, meaty mushrooms, and flavorful sauce, it’s sure to be a crowd favorite.

Lengua Estofado, which translates to tongue (lengua) stew (estofado) in Spanish, is a Filipino delicacy with heavy colonial influence. Adapted from Andalusian-style cooking, it’s a type of braised dish where ox tongue is cooked low and slow in a rich tomato sauce seasoned with vinegar, soy sauce, and aromatics.

If you haven’t tried lengua before, this is the perfect recipe to get your first bite! You’ll be pleasantly surprised how the tough muscle turns to velvety-soft, flavorful meat with none of the off-taste or smell you’d expect from offal.

Add a generous smothering of the luscious red sauce plus hearty mushrooms, and creamy mushrooms, and you’re in for a treat!

Ingredient Notes

Beef/ox tongue – you can substitute pork tongue which are usually smaller and thus cook quicker
Aromatics – onions, garlic, and bay leaves infuses the meat with additional flavor
Broth – reserved from pre-cooking the beef tongue
Potatoes – cut into 1/2-inch rounds or quarter into cubes
Mushrooms – you can use fresh or canned button mushrooms
Tomato Sauce – you can use ½ cup tomato paste and ½ cup water to replace tomato sauce.
Soy Sauce – adds umami flavor
Sugar – balances the sour notes with sweetness
Carrots, bell peppers, and/or green olives – feel free to add these vegetables for extra color and texture

Cooking Tongue

Lengua is usually served for special occasions as it can be pretty pricey and takes hours to tenderize. By following the simple hacks below, you can enjoy this magnificent cut of meat for everyday family dinner fare.

  • You can cook the tongue in advance, portion the serving slices in resealable plastic bags or airtight containers, and store them in the freezer until ready to use in your favorite dishes like tacos de lengua lengua in mushroom sauce and of course, this lengua stew.
  • You can also use an Instant Pot or pressure cooker to save time. From the usual 4 to 5 hours to tenderize, it will take about 50 to 60 minutes to pressure cook the lengua depending on weight.
  • Peeling And Slicing

  • Allow the cooked tongue to just cool enough to touch and peel before it’s completely cooled. The skin is easier to pull off while still warm.
  • If the tongue is cold, a vegetable peeler is the best tool to shave off the skin cleanly and without a lot of waste.
  • While it’s easier to peel while slightly warm, it’s easier to cut into neater slices when chilled. After peeling, refrigerate for about 1 to 2 hours until cold before slicing.
  • How to serve and store?

  • Lengua estofado is delicious as a main dish for lunch or dinner. Serve with steamed rice, mashed potatoes, or noodles for a hearty meal. For a lighter option, enjoy it with a tossed salad and a crusty bread loaf to sop up the tasty sauce.
  • To store leftovers, transfer in a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
  • To reheat, place in a saucepan and heat until internal temperature reads 165 F.
  • Lengua Estofado

    Lengua Estofado is a hearty ox tongue stew braised in a rich tomato sauce with mushrooms and potatoes. It takes a few hours to make, but the melt-in-your-mouth tender meat and flavorful sauce are worth the wait. Perfect for family dinners or special occasions!

    Prep Time: 20 mins
    Cook Time: 5 hrs
    Total Time: 5 hrs 20 mins
    Author: Lalaine Manalo
    Course: Main Entree

    Ingredients

  • 3 pounds beef tongue
  • water
  • 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 head garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon pepper corns
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/4 cup canola
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 can (4 ounces) button mushrooms, drained
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup reserved broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Instructions

  • In a deep pot over medium heat, combine beef tongue and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil for about 10 to 15 minutes, skimming scum that may float to top. Drain tongue and rinse well. Discard liquid and wash pot.
  • Return tongue to pot and add enough water to cover. Add onions, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, and salt. Over medium heat, bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for about 4 to 5 hours or until meat is fork-tender. Add more water as needed.
  • Drain the cooked tongue from liquid, reserving 1 cup of the broth. Strain and discard aromatics.
  • Allow tongue to slightly cool and refrigerate for about 1 to 2 hours or until completely cooled. Peel the skin and cut meat diagonally into 1/2-inch slices.
  • In a skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add potatoes and cook until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
  • Remove excess oil from the pan except for about 2 tablespoons. Add mushrooms and cook for about 1 minute. Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Add the chopped onions and minced garlic and cook until softened.
  • Add tongue and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Add tomato sauce, reserved broth, and soy sauce, stirring well to combine. Bring to a boil.
  • Lower heat, cover, and continue to cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until sauce is slightly reduced.
  • Add sugar and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add potatoes and mushrooms and continue to cook until tender and sauce is thickened. Serve hot.
  • Notes

  • Allow the cooked tongue to just cool enough to touch and peel before it’s completely cooled. The skin is easier to pull off while still warm.
  • If the tongue is cold, a vegetable peeler is the best tool to shave off the skin cleanly and without a lot of waste.
  • While it’s easier to peel while slightly warm, it’s easier to cut into neater slices when chilled. After peeling, refrigerate for about 1 to 2 hours until cold before slicing.
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