Lengua picante (Spicy beef tongue)

Lengua picante (Spicy beef tongue)

Confession time: I was sorely tempted to start this post with a tawdry joke about a butcher, a housewife and beef tongue. For this I have nobody to blame but Aunt Ilana’s husband, Pedro. Luckily, and for the sake of the children who visit our site, the joke would be lost in translation. Phew!

Will somebody think of the children!

Lengua picante (Spicy beef tongue)

My reputation having remained unsullied, allow me to go on about this dish.

This is one of those dishes that sounds unappetizing at first, but the reality is far from appearances. Beef tongue is pure muscle, a very tender, flavorful cut, made even more delicious by the sauce (escabeche in the Dominican Republic) in which it is served.

Lengua picante (Spicy beef tongue)

And speaking of children, I would suggest you keep to yourself the, erm, provenance of said cut. No need to go into detail and gross out your kids.

Lengua picante (Spicy beef tongue)

Hey, I didn’t lie to my daughter, I just assured her that the unusual-looking meat was absolutely beef. All she had to say was “Wow! That is some soft meat!”, “soft” meaning tender in her vocabulary.

Lengua picante (Spicy tongue)

So yeah, hmm, tawdry jokes and keeping information from our kid. Another day at Casa Aunt Clara.

Lengua picante (Spicy beef tongue)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Lengua (Beef tongue) is a very tender, flavorful cut, made even more delicious by the sauce (escabeche in the Dominican Republic) in which it's served.
Serves: 6 servings
  • 2 beef tongues
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 large onion, cut into strips
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 12 large olives, sliced
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper cut into slices (optional)
  • 2 large bell peppers, cut into strips
  • 3 sprigs of fresh cilantro
  • 6 large tomatoes, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup of tomato sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  1. Boil the tongue until it is tender throughout but still firm, having added the oregano, a teaspoon of salt, and a teaspoon of pepper to the boiling water. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Remove the tongue from the water and peel the skin off.
  3. Cut into fine slices.
  4. Heat the oil in a cooking pan over high heat.
  5. Brown the tongue slices. Remove from the pan.
  6. Lower heat to medium and add the onion. Cook and stir until the onions become transparent.
  7. Add the garlic, bell peppers, carrots, and cook and stir for a minute.
  8. Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce. Cover and cook over low heat until the tomatoes are soft.
  9. Add a ½ cups of water and reduce to a thick sauce.
  10. Return the tongue slices back to the pan. Mix well and cook for a minute.
  11. Add the cilantro leaves and season with salt to taste.
  12. Serve hot with arroz blanco or moro.
If you wish to cut on time, boil the tongue in a pressure cooker. It takes about 15 mins. in a pressure cooker, as opposed to almost 40 min to an hour in a regular pot.
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{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Alysha de la cruz April 25, 2014, 1:30 PM

    My husband loves tongue but I have never had it before. I tried cooking it once and that was a terrible idea seeing as I had never done it before and was basically guessing as I went along. How do I know when it has boiled enough? How do I get that skin off? Is it supposed to smell terrible while boiling? How do you clean it properly? I’m sorry for the million questions I just really want to make this for my husband.

    • Aunt Clara April 26, 2014, 7:15 PM

      Pinch it with a fork, it should be very tender. That’s how you know when it’s done. I suggest you use a pressure cooker (15 – 20 mins), if you have one. Otherwise it may take up to 40 mins in a conventional pot. Once it’s cooked-through the skill will peel off very easily. Yes, it has a strong smell, but I wouldn’t call it “terrible”. :)

  • Jenny August 25, 2011, 10:20 AM

    To die for!

  • Aida Concepcion June 23, 2011, 4:20 PM

    I must admit I love Dominican foods authentic taste thanks for sharing it to us.