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Lengua Estofado

Lengua Estofado is the perfect addition to your holiday or special occasion menu. With melt-in-your-mouth tender ox tongue, meaty mushrooms, and flavorful sauce, it’s sure to be a crowd favorite.

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Lengua Estofado, which translates to tongue (lengua) stew (estofado) in Spanish, is a Filipino delicacy with heavy colonial influence. Adapted from Andalusian-style cooking, it’s a type of braised dish where ox tongue is cooked low and slow in a rich tomato sauce seasoned with vinegar, soy sauce, and aromatics.

If you haven’t tried lengua before, this is the perfect recipe to get your first bite! You’ll be pleasantly surprised how the the tough muscle turns to a velvety-soft, flavorful meat with none of the off-taste or smell you’d expect from an offal.

Add a generous smothering of the luscious red sauce plus hearty mushrooms, and creamy mushrooms, and you’re in for a treat!

Ingredient notes

  • Beef/ox tongue– you can substitute pork tongue which are usually smaller and thus cook quicker
  • Aromatics onions, garlic, and bay leaves infuses the meat with additional flavor
  • Broth– reserved from pre-cooking the beef tongue
  • Potatoes cut into 1/2-inch rounds or quarter into cubes
  • Mushrooms– you can use fresh or canned button mushrooms
  • Tomato Sauce– you can use ½ cup tomato paste and ½ cup water to replace tomato sauce.
  • Soy Sauce– adds umami flavor
  • Sugar balances the sour notes with sweetness
  • Carrots, bell peppers, and/or green olives– feel free to add these vegetables for extra color and texture

Cooking tongue

Lengua is usually served for special occasions as it can be pretty pricey and takes hours to tenderize. By following the simple hacks below, you can enjoy this magnificent cut of meat for everyday family dinner fare.

How to serve and store

  • Lengua estofado is delicious as a main dish for lunch or dinner. Serve with steamed rice, mashed potatoes, or noodles for a hearty meal. For a lighter option, enjoy it with a tossed salad and a crusty bread loaf to sop up the tasty sauce.


  • 3 pounds beef tongue
  • water
  • 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 head garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon pepper corns
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/4 cup canola
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 can (4 ounces) button mushrooms, drained
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

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