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Tacos de Lengua ~ A Recipe That’s Not For the Faint of Heart

November 9, 2010

Taco Wagon
Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe
Karen Rivera

Growing up in a household that couldn’t afford to waste anything meant using every scrap of the animals we butchered. We got used to dishes that were utterly delicious but definitely not for the faint of heart. When my non-New Mexican friends came over for dinner, Mom never told them exactly what was in her Tacos de Lenguas, they just gobbled the messy tacos and we laughed about it after they left.

This is her depression-era New Mexican recipe was made from baby beef tongue. She’d shred the braised tongue, simmered with chili grown in a garden watered by hand and add chopped onions, handfuls of cilantro and hot homemade salsa. When I make them at home, I use organic beef tongue.

Not able to face cooking one yourself?  Lots of places in Northern New Mexico, including Adelitas on Cerrillos, offer the home style tongue tacos but it’s a long drive for me from Colorado Springs for take-out. Luckily I can get my fix  at the 24-hour drive-thru at Taco Express drive thru or at Maria’s Tacos until I get home.

Mom’s Tacos de Lengua

1 baby beef tongue(preferably organic)
1 tsp salt
½ c. powdered red chili or 2 c. red chili caribe
1 Tbl oregano
2 chopped jalapenos
4 mashed cloves of garlic
1 large chopped onion

Boil meat until tender, about 3 hours. Cool and peel away the outer skin. Trim off any fat,  chop into small pieces and return to broth. Simmer another 1/2 hour.

To make tacos, take corn tortillas and heat in a cast iron until warm. Fill with chopped tongue, chopped onion, lots of cilantro and homemade salsa. Squeeze a lime over and enjoy.

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