Ox tongue as we called it brings back memories! Let's say in my country it was a dish served at many feasty occasions when I was quite younger. It's very authentic for Flanders where I live and the very North of France. Simply delicious and relatively easy to make.
Oxtongue in Madeira sauce
Stage 1; cooking the tongue
Put the tongue in cold water only and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Get rid of the cooking water and rinse the tongue under cold water. This procedure is often used in making bouillons of any kind with any meat; it eleminates most impurities in a few minutes and prevents the bouillon from going bitter!!
Refill the cooking pot with cold water, the beef tongue, roughly chopped veggies; onion, carrot, celery, leaks. Add thyme, bay leaf, a little salt, some black pepper corns and bring to a simmer. Depending on the size of the tongue it will need to simmer for 2-3 hours or longer. Test it with a fork or a knife and see if it gets in easily. The tongue needs to be really soft! Let cool for a while and peel the tongue. Cut the back part off, that is not used. Slice the tongue in 5 mm thin slices. Keep the bouillon, you need it for the sauce.
Stage 2; Make the Madeira sauce (was often called "sauce tortue" in french which means.. turtle sauce)
Make a roux with butter and flour. Add cooled strained bouillon a ladle at a time until the right consistency. Add 2 or more tbsp of tomato paste. Let the sauce cook for a while. Add a glass of Madeira wine (could be replaced by port wine) and let simmer some more.
Cut champignons (button mushrooms) in slices or quarters. You can fry them first in butter with a shallot (I prefer that procedure), but the champignons were many times added raw to the sauce and cooked in there.
In my region they also often added a small handful of chopped pickled gurkins (the very small ones). Some added a small dash of cream (stir in immediately but don't cook the sauce any more after this!!).
The tongue slices were warmed in the sauce. Served with potato purée but mostly with homemade potato croquettes.
Have fun and don't forget to invite me!
PS Buy a small bottle of real Madeira wine instead of port! It's pricey but keeps like forever, even when opened. Absolutey perfect companion in any mushroom dish!! Madeira is a must have in any kitchen imo.