Recipe Night – La Lengua de Res

La Lengua de Res = Beef Tongue. Cedo and I were in Pricesmart wandering through the meat department where we saw the beef tongues. “Oh, esa es muy rica, muy muy rica!” (very very delicious). Hmmm OK, I’ll try anything once and if I don’t like it, she will be getting a gift. On the ride home I was given the instructions, twice, just to be sure I understood correctly.

The tongue, about 2 pounds - $4/pound.

The tongue, about 2 pounds – $4/pound.

There were other things that I don’t usually buy either like sliced cow stomach, sliced feet (also muy rico para la sopa, pero mucha grasa – very delicious for soup, but a lot of fat). But, today it is about the tongue.

First, it must be boiled for 5-10 minutes, and then the skin removed. That is quite a bit more difficult than one would think! (I was told if the skin isn’t removed it becomes impossibly hard and tough when cooked more) Then, make a salsa like the one for the Lomo Relleno – celery, onion, green pepper, Maggi bullion cube, garlic, and any other seasonings you like whirled in the blender. Pour this over the meat and it is ready to cook.

I was told it takes maybe 30 minutes cooking time without the pressure cooker. I used the pressure cooker and checked it after 30 minutes and it still seemed fairly tough, so I ended up cooking it for a hour. Again, our ideas of soft are different than the Panamanians who are used to a much tougher type of beef. After an hour though I thought the meat was soft and tender.

After the meat is cooked take it out of the pot, cook down the juice to thicken and decrease the liquid, slice the meat, pour the juice over it, and it’s ready to serve.

It tasted like beef! (but of course). Seriously it did not have a strange taste at all, but tasted like other cuts of beef that I am familiar with. The main difference was the slightly softer texture. I thought it was quite acceptable. Joel, however decided to pass. Either he saw it in the fridge so he knew what it was, or he didn’t like the softer texture, or both.

I don’t think I will buy this one again. It’s more expensive per pound and a fair amount of work getting the skin off. Of course also, if Joel doesn’t care for it there is no point in keeping this on our list. I’m glad I tried it though. Now I know, and just because something isn’t a common food where I’m from doesn’t mean it isn’t good to eat. I gave the rest to Cedo who pronounced it well cooked and “muy rica”.


About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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23 Responses to Recipe Night – La Lengua de Res

  1. oldsalt1942 says:

    I’m not a big fan of tongue, myself, but I understand Joel’s reluctance. But I believe it’s more the IDEA of the thing rather than the thing itself. I know people in the States thought I was a just one step away from being a cannibal when I said I’d eaten horse when I lived over in France. It’s actually very tasty. Like beef but much more tender, and if a horse steak was laid in front of you and you weren’t TOLD that it was horse you’d enjoy it. After being told it was horse, however, your stateside indoctrination would kick in and you’d go through all kinds of conniptions.

    If I was in a country where dog was eaten in the normal course of events I’d certainly try it out of curiosity, but I’m not about to off the dog I feed every morning at my house to see what dog tastes like. Coincidentally, and I mentioned this to Cedo at the bank while we were waiting for a teller, it has been asserted that pigs are probably MORE intelligent than dogs. As piglets they quickly learn how to do tricks, respond to their names, can be housebroken, and yet we slaughter them daily in their uncounted millions for chops, spare ribs and sausages.


  2. in UK , tongue is served cold with a salad. I could never take to it…I was just so grossed out
    seeing it. And we had tripe. This was in boarding school & the experience has left me scarred for life!


  3. Sunni Morris says:

    Tripe is something I won’t eat. I don’t care for tongue either and would never eat it now, but we grew up on a farm in the south and my mother cooked it once in a while. I shouldn’t even admit this, but we had road kill once – an armadillo. How gross, huh? We were really poor though, so I guess you do what you have to do.


    • I’ve heard that there are people who eat road kill whenever they can. If you don’t have much you can’t let any food go to waste. It’s good that you don’t have to do that now!


  4. Kathy says:

    I really like the fact that you are willing to try new foods and are willing to try making new foods. I feel this is part of the whole experience of living in a new culture. The only food I really couldn’t eat were turtle eggs. I real delicacy for my Salvadorian friend but kind of disgusting.


    • I figure, why not? If the Panamanians like something it’s certainly not dangerous. Turtle eggs though, I couldn’t either, especially thinking about the decreasing population of turtles.


  5. indacampo says:

    When I was a teen one of my friend’s mothers made tongue when I was over for visit. As I recall it just tasted like roast beef so she must have cooked it properly. I don’t think I’ve eaten it since though. Good on your for trying but I’m with Joel, just looking at that big thing laying in the tray is gross to me. 🙂


    • I know, me too. That’s what started the whole thing, me going ewww look at that. Then she started going on about how good it was and it started sounding like a challenge to try it.


  6. allig565 says:

    One of our first purchases was a crockpot in Panama. I don’t eat red meat often, but I really wanted to try Ropa Viejo. And I know Beef has to cook a very long time. Good for you for trying this, but I think I might have passed due to the silly “it looks ugly” notion. Reminds me of being ten again! Keep the recipes coming!


    • It does look ugly and that’s what started me talking about it, and it went from there. I don’t have a crockpot but I use our pressure cookers all the time for meat, chicken, soup, beans, beets… Ropa Viejo is on my list too so if you make it first let me know how it turns out. Cedo told me there is a cut called “falda” (skirt) which I believe is flank steak. So, Ropa Viejo is old clothes, or old shredded skirts, and that is how it got that name.


      • allig565 says:

        Oh, Kris, I made it first thing when I arrived to Panama, and it was delicious. In the crockpot for tne hours lol I bought the “skirt steak” or as it was already labeled “Ropa Viejo” in PriceMart for $5.99/lb. Excellent, so tasty! I made it with rice, but one member of group I was making it for wasn’t big rice eater, so I also made egg noodles with it (preferred these with the sauce).


  7. 4sarge says:

    The wife cooks one about once a year. Not my favorite but she likes it. She slices it thin and we have it on sandwiches.


  8. You are much braver than I am. Just the thought of eating tongue makes me kind of sick. Have you ever had blood pudding? My grandfather used to make it at Christmas.


  9. daniellajoe says:

    I have never cooked it but i have eaten it, it is tasty 🙂


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