The flavour of tongue pressed at home is far better than the sliced tongue available commercially. It is possible to buy tongue presses in some good kitchen shops and if it will be used regularly it is well worth the expense of buying one. If a tongue press is not to be used, a small cake tin makes a good substitute - it should be just too small for the tongue to fit so that it has to be squeezed into the tin. This helps the pressing.
serves 6 to 8.
1 prepared unsalted ox tongue, (about 2 1/2 - 3 kg)
1 bouquet garni
1 tsp spoon salt
6 black peppercorns
6 juniper berries (optional)
1 onion, peeled and stuck with a few cloves
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 lemon, sliced thinly, pips removed
1 bunch of watercress
1. Put the tongue in a large saucepan. Cover with water and add the remaining ingredients, except the lemon and watercress.
2. Bring to the boil, skimming off any scum with a slotted spoon. Lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer gently for 4 to 5 hours or until the tongue is very tender. (To test if done, pierce the thickest part near the root with a skewer.) Remove from the heat and leave to cool in the cooking liquid.
3. When quite cold, drain the tongue, discarding the cooking liquid. Remove the skin, gristle and any bones. Roll up from the thinnest end and push into the tongue press. Tighten according to instructions.
4. If using a cake tin, push into the tin and place a plate on top with heavy weights on. Leave in a cool place overnight.
5. For serving, turn the tongue out of the press or tin and arrange on a serving platter with lemon slices and watercress sprigs.
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