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Beef or Veal Tongue Stewed Slowly with Tomatoes, Sage and Garlic

     In this adaptation of a Tuscan dish, I've substituted tongue for the traditional combination of veal or beef lung, lamb's lung, spleen and heart called collectively coratella.

    For an unforgettable rustic meal, serve this tongue stew with soft polenta and braised kale.     

Serves 6 as a main course.
6 Thick slices of beef or veal tongue
1 Cup cooking liquid, degreased and reduced to 1/2 cup
1 Recipe for Soft No-Stir Polenta (see Mediterranean Grains and Greens, page 313)
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 Teaspoon dried sage leaves or 1 tablespoon fresh leaves
1/3 Cup dry white wine
1/2 Cup crushed seeded Italian tomatoes
2 Teaspoons tomatoe paste
  Freshly ground black pepper
  Finely grated pecorino cheese (optional)



1. About 1 1/2 hours before serving, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and make a bowl of soft no-stir polenta as described on page 313 in Mediterranean Grains & Greens.

2. When the polenta has cooked for 45 minutes, begin to make the stew. Heat the oil in a 12-inch straight-sided skillet, add the garlic and sage and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Slip in the slices of tongue and cook, stirring, until lightly browned on both sides.

3. Add the wine, cover, and cook over medium heat until almost all the moisture has been absorbed, about 5 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, reserved cooking liquid and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and continue cooking, covered, over low heat for 20 minutes. The sauce should be thick and the tongue should be tender enough to cut with a wooden spoon. Correct the seasoning and keep warm until ready to serve.

4. Pour the polenta into a deep, warm serving bowl. Stir in cheese, if using. Top with the reheated stew and serve at once.

     Adapted from the recipe Polmone in umido in Wilma Pezzini's The Tuscan Cookbook.

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