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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Buffalo Tongue Chili

For starters, get yourself a buffalo tongue.

For those that have been visiting my blog for more than a few months, you know of my lifetime interest in all things Native American. And weekend cooking  culinary experimentation excellence.

In reading hundreds of first-account journals, books, and just about everything else I could get my hands on over the past ~four decades, I remember that - time and time again - one of the many "delicacies" mentioned was buffalo tongue. 

At home, I rarely eat anything from a cow anymore, and I buy my buffalo ( bison ) at a local farm that raises its own. If you recall, I posted a few pics a month or two ago. From filets to cubes to plain old ground meat for burgers, I usually stock up about once a month. My children especially love the smoked jerky, but at $30/pound, I only get it once or twice a year.

Anyway, a few weeks back, I finally discovered that in addition to all of the items above, my bison rancher also carried buffalo tongue. At $5 for what I'm guessing was a 2 lb. chunk of meat, the price was reasonable...so I added another item to the bag.

One of my weekend specialties is chili - from scratch. I don't have a recipe written down anywhere, but get me to the grocery store and then to a well-stocked kitchen, and I can put together a meal in an hour or two that has our kids bringing their Tupperware whenever they come home for the weekend...provided there are any leftovers. 

I'm not going to spend much time writing down ingredients or my step-by-step recipe. I provided a few pics below with comments. What I will offer is that the heart of the buffalo tongue, which I'll describe as the center of the large base muscle attached to the tongue itself, is far more tender than the best prepared filet mignon I've ever had...ANYWHERE.  If it weren't raining so hard last night, I would have put on my Navajo headdress and been barking at the waxing moon or Dancing with Squirrels...figuratively, of course. It was that good.

I have to work a little on perfecting how to pull the skin off once you cook the tongue, but my friends - if you ever decide to try buffalo tongue - it'll be worth the effort.

First...fry some onions and peppers in a little bacon grease. In cast iron, of course.
Separately, start cooking down tomatoes..lots of them.

Add some freshly ground dried chili peppers, garlic, kidney and pinto beans, freshly chopped scallions, sea salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste.

Following the advice of the Buffalo Dude, I parboiled the tongue in a covered saucepan until it looked done. I guessed pretty well.

After several attempts to pull off the thick skin...I reverted to "Plan B".

Can we say "tender"?

The final product...buffalo tongue chili.



Folks, when we finally derail the Marcellus Express, I'll write down this recipe as well as the favorite of my fellow October Paddling Pals....Road Kill Chili.

BTW - the second most frequently mentioned NA delicacy...roasted beaver tail. And I've already found a source.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend. 

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