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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Canning: Beef Lengua

Beef lengua preserved in their broth
Every fall, we have a whole cow slaughtered for a fresh supply of beef. My SIL/BIL also sell beef to friends. So every year, I have a supply also of the less desirables -- oxtail, suet/tallow (which I can use to make soap), beef liver, and beef tongue.

What do I do when the freezer is still not quite empty, with the prospect of being filled with the new batch of meats? My solution is simple: Canning.

So, I had four beef tongue to pre-cook before the final recipe. I have always found out that the best way to prepare beef (especially the tough meats) is prolonged cooking, including slowcooking. Another way is to pressure can. But I cannot wait for a get-together of Filipinos to prepare the lengua the way Filipinos usually like them, like with mushrooms or as estofado. So the best way to deal with them NOW is to can them, much in the same way as I would boil them first.

Please take note that this is my first time, and as such, was a learning opportunity for me to homecan my lenguas. In no way am I saying this is how you should do it, but you can learn from my experience if you too want to homecan yung beef lengua. Advantages: Pre-cooked beef lengua in can/jars will allow you to just prepare the sauce while roasting or pan-frying the slices in butter then pour the sauce over the slices...easy-peasy.

But I had to peel off those white covering of the tongue. And this can only be achieved by pre-cooking. Instead of boiling them for hours, I chose to pressure cook, This is my first time to use my pressure canner to pressure cook, and the instructions from the manual states to bring the pressure up to 15 psi and cook the meat. This is my first time to can lengua, and so I tried to follow a pressure cooking method to be able to "skin" the tongue. I found one on youtube, where he used an electric pressure cooker to cook the tongue for one hour and peel. The inside meat was still reddish.

Broth to cook includes garlic, peppercorn, onions, bay leaves, Italian-type of herbs, sea salt (about 1/2 T per quart of water). I used Presto pressure-cooker/canner to cook this at 15 psi for one hour.
So I pressure cooked my 4 tongues at 15 psi for one hour. I probably should have done it only for 20 mins to par-cook, but I was not sure whether that was enough to peel off the skin. But when mine was done, it was too done. Easy to peel but also the meat tended to just separate into fibers. Next time I do this again, I will try the pressure cook only for 20 mins.

I had to freeze for several hours before slicing, to make it easier to retain shape while slicing, since the meat was soooo tender!

*
After peeling (which was very easy) and freezing for about 3 hours, they were ready to slice.

Then I reheated the  broth, and placed slices in the hot quart jars. I poured enough of the broth into the jars to leave about 1 to 1-1/2 inch headspace. I had 4 quarts. I had enough water to reach about 1 inch to 2 inches up the sides of the jars, then placed the lid on, boiled and vented for 10 mins before applying the weight (I used the All-American Pressure Canner which has weighted gauge). Had the pressure go up to 15 psi, then timed for 90 mins per instructions from the USDA guidelines for canning meat chunks in broth via hot pack. I let the canner cool down before I took the jars out.

I am guessing the meats will be almost ready to deteriorate once I cook them into something like lengua in mushroom sauce, so I will just brush them with oil, roast for a few mins to brown, while preparing the sauce separately then pouring onto the slices of meat.

I love having all these opportunities to learn about preserving these select meat/offals that we consider delicacies.

For more info on canning meat chunks, please click this link.

To learn more about pressure canning, click this link on using the pressure canner.


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