Braised Beef Tongue with Vegetable Ragu

After church, we would visit the local butcher shop where my dad went to buy meat. Often the butcher would give us offcuts for free, cuts like beef tongue that were less popular. As kids, we didn’t really know what beef tongue was as my mom presented it as a ‘roast’ and we kids loved it! Although not necessarily standard fare these days, beef tongue is now a big staple when I participate in events. I seem to be the only one who serves it and it actually makes me happy even if only a few visitors come to my booth. It feels like a well-kept culinary secret.
Yield 4 Servings Prep. Time 20 min Cooking Time 70 min Total Time 90 min


Here are the following ingredients:

  • 1 Beef Tongue (unpeeled)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) sunflower or canola oil
  • 3 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) whole black peppercorns
  • 4 cups (1 L) beef broth

Vegetable Ragu

  • 2 beets (unpeeled), finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • Sunflower or canola oil (optional)
  • 2 EACH carrots and potatoes (unpeeled), diced
  • Half stalk celery, diced
  • Salt and pepper
  • ⅓ cup (75 mL) butter, cut into cubes

Shopping List

Here are the following shopping items to buy:


Follow these cooking methods/directions:

  1. Cut beef tongue crosswise into 4 equal pieces. Score each piece lengthwise deeply, almost but not all the way through, to butterfly. Season all over with salt and pepper to your taste.
  2. Heat oil over medium heat in a large heavy nonstick skillet until sizzling. Add beef, cut side down, and sear, turning once, for 4 to 6 minutes or until golden brown on both sides. Set aside.
  3. Combine sage, bay leaves, peppercorns, broth and 3 cups (750 mL) water in a heavy Dutch oven or enamelled cast-iron roaster and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add seared beef (reserving oil in skillet) and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer vigourously for 45 minutes or until fork-tender.
  4. Vegetable Ragu: Meanwhile, add beets, garlic, bay leaves and onion to the reserved skillet. Cook over medium-low heat, adding more oil if necessary to keep moist, stirring often, for 10 minutes, until beginning to soften. Add carrots, potatoes and celery. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper to your taste; cook, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes, until just tender. Set aside and let cool slightly.
  5. To serve, remove beef from heat and set aside. Reheat the skillet of vegetables over low heat; discard bay leaves. Add butter; stirring to melt and glaze the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Transfer beef to a cutting board, discarding broth. Carve crosswise into thin slices. Spoon vegetables in centre of a medium-sized platter and top with slices of tongue.