You know how you go riflin’ through the freezer looking for white spelt flour and instead you find a cow tongue you bought way back when? Yeah, it happens to me too. What’s a flexitarian to do, faced with such flesh? I found myself wishing meat maestro Jesse Griffith (Duke of Dai Due) could take this tongue off my hands and prepare it appropriately.
I got into beef tongue via “Tongue Loaf” while working in the deli. Some select salamis aside (do visit Cochon Butcher the next time you’re passing through the Big Easy), this cooked and pressed, slightly jellied rendition, sliced paper-thin, might be my favorite lunch meat. Boasting über-beefy flavor, as if tongue were tasked with telling the entirety of the animal’s taste to partakers, this muscle articulates in the mouth with a tenderly discernible texture that reminds your tongue that it’s eating a tongue.
Well, slow cooker to the rescue again. Leisurely poached with garlic and bay,the serendipitous tongue released a phô-ish fragrance that had the whole family hankering for Kim Phung, and yielded a terrific broth for beaning. As for the meat (Bandera Grassland grass-fed Longhorn, btw), well, it took me a while to get to it. You might think trimming tongue is weird, and you’re right. On tongue-tackling day I had at it, my first tongue. Stirred into a batch of beans, seasoned with an amalgam inspired by Diana Kennedy‘s Lengua Estofada—ancho chile, homemade chili powder, toasted almonds, garlic, tomato and tortilla chip crumbs, the meat lent considerable savor to a less than picturesque taco filling.
Enough smoke and mirrors! What’s really going on in this post is another recipe to use up your broccoli stems, or any other kohl. Informed by German butterkuchen, and possibly the impossible pies of Bisquick renown, this baked meal will warm the kitchen, hopefully rousing chilly peasants like me out of their reverie of hibernation.
BROKKOLI KUCHEN serves several brunchers
- good fat. Organic or local (Texas Olive Ranch) olive oil (leftover from lubing pizza day), organic butter, or pig or poultry grease will all work.
- chopped local onions, any color
- chopped local peppers, any color
- well-trimmed local broccoli stems, cut into small pieces. Or substitute kohlrabi or shredded cabbage.
- Da Becca or other sustainable ham, chopped. I buy the bargain-priced “meat ends” from the deli at Central Market. Or you can use any cooked meat such as bacon or Dai Due’s famous country style breakfast sausage. One cup is plenty.
- compatible herbs and spices. Thyme is great and a little garam masala and turmeric lend mysterious warmth.
- ¾ cup local milk. I use either Swede Farm Dairy or Wateroak Farm.
- 4 Tablespoons organic butter, cut into tablespoons. I love Organic Valley. Click for a coupon.
- ½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons water (not warm)
- 1 packet (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast—NOT rapid-rise, bread machine or instant
- 242 grams (2 cups) organic all-purpose flour. Whole Foods 365 is usually the best buy.
- 242 grams (barely scant 2 cups) organic white whole wheat flour. WF generally has the lowest price on King Arthur brand in the 5# bag.
- 1 teaspoon salt. I like Real Salt.
- 3 local eggs
- 1 Tablespoon local honey. My standard is Good Flow raw wildfllower. I buy it in bulk at CM. You can bring your own container—I like wide-mouthed glass jars—and the staff will tare the weight for you.
- shredded or crumbled local cheese, about 4 ounces. I love Full Quiver Farm‘s cheddar.
Line a 9″ X 13″ baking pan with aluminum foil. I do this by flipping the pan upside down and forming the foil to the outside of the bottom. Then it’s easy to fit the foil into the inside. Butter the foil very well. I use ghee.
Saute your veggies in a little good fat. Add salt and some water, cover the pan, and steam the broccoli for about 6 minutes. Add the ham (and green onions now, if using that color), raise the heat and let the ingredients pick up a touch of brown. Stir in your seasonings before taking the pan off the heat.
Using the same hot burner (if your unlucky kitchen cooks electrically, like mine), scald the milk in a small to medium saucepan. Remove from the heat, add the butter and swirl occasionally until melted. Add the water, then sprinkle the yeast over the surface. Combine your flours and salt in a large mixing bowl (for hand mixing) or the bowl of your stand mixer. Stir the eggs and honey into the milk mixture, add to the flour and stir with a wooden spoon or mix with the paddle attachment until well blended. This dough is a batter. You don’t have to knead it and you’re not trying to form a ball with it.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, using a flexible spatula to scrape out the bowl and spread the dough as evenly as you can. Cover the pan and let the kuchen base rise for about an hour, until well-risen (nearly doubled) and puffy when poked. When ready for bakin’, blanket the surface of the dough with the sauteed veggie/meat mixture and top with a respectable helping of cheese. Bake in a preheated 350º oven for about 35 minutes, until the dough is cooked through and the topping is nicely browned.