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Cold Pressed Ox Tongue

Although you can order a pressed tongue from the butcher at Christmas it is usually much nicer home-made – and it's not really much trouble. Once cooked and pressed, it's wonderful served in slices with pickles and salads, or put into sandwiches with some sharp mustard.

 Cold Pressed Ox Tongue

  Serves 10-12

 1 pickled ox tongue, weighing approximately 4-4½ lb (1.75-2 kg) (available from independent butchers)
 1 large onion, quartered
 2 leeks, split and washed
 1 clove garlic, peeled
 a few parsley stalks
 1 bay leaf
 6 whole black peppercorns
 2 level teaspoons powdered gelatine
 2 tablespoons port
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You will also need a 5-6 inch (13-15 cm) deep cake tin or soufflé dish.

This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Christmas.


First the tongue needs to be well scrubbed with a stiff brush, then covered with cold water and left to soak for half a day or so. After that discard the water, place the tongue in a deep pan and cover with 6-7 pints (3.5-4 litres) of fresh cold water. Bring this up to the boil, then skim off all the surface scum before adding the prepared vegetables, garlic, herbs and peppercorns. Simmer very gently for about 3½ hours.

The tongue will be ready when the skin is 'blistered' and the T-shaped bone at the root comes away easily when pulled. Remove the tongue from the pan and douse it with cold water to cool, then strip away all the skin. Neaten the tongue by trimming away the ragged and gristly bits at the root and underneath, then curl it round to fit into the tin or dish.

Boil the liquor briskly to reduce it and concentrate the flavour. Now sprinkle the gelatine into a little cold water in a cup and melt it over simmering water until absolutely clear. Now strain off 10 fl oz (275 ml) of the cooking liquor, strain the gelatine into it and lastly add the port. 

Pour the mixture over the tongue. Place a saucer on top, weight it down heavily and leave for several hours (or overnight) until cold and set. 

Serve the tongue with some chopped jelly as a garnish.


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