Beef Tongue stew 牛タンシチュー

japanese cake

Using the bottom portion of boiled beef tongue (called “tanshita” たん下) I prepared this beef tongue stew. I looked through Japanese recipes and came up with this stew. In Japan, beef tongue stew or “tan-shichu” タンシチュー is one of the dishes for “Yoshoku” 洋食 or “Western-style Japanese cuisine”. It is rather popular. I happened to have blanched rapini on hand. I thought the slightly bitter taste would go well with the stew so I added it to the dish. To re-enforce the beef tongue theme to the meal, I also added a slice of the middle portion of boiled tongue (called “tan-naka” たん中), briefly sautéed in butter and seasoned with salt and pepper.

It appears, that it is customary in Japan to make lines of cream on the surface for this stew before serving so I followed suit as shown below.

Adding rapini was my idea.

Nice thick stew with very tender chunks of tongue is extremely satisfying.

We like tongue slices cooked this way much better than tongue sliced and grilled in the Japanese way. The tongue was so tender and flavorful. I served a slice of tongue in another dish with my cucumber onion salad and Campari tomato.


Deep posterior portion of prepared beef tongue (tan-shita), cut into 1 inch cubes

One large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped

Three ribs of celery, cut into small cubes

Two cloves of garlic, skin removed and finely chopped

Four Campari tomatoes, skinned, cut into quarters (or two small tomatoes).

Three medium carrots, peeled and cut into small cubes

Two bay leaves

2 tbs olive oil

3 tbs AP flour

1 cup dry red wine

1-2  cup reserved boiling liquid from preparing the tongue, solids removed

Salt and pepper for seasoning

Cream for garnish

Blanched rapini (optional)


Add the olive oil to a pot and sauté the onion, garlic, and celery for several minutes, add the carrot and keep stirring for another minute or two.

Add the flour and mix until the flour coats the vegetables and the flour coating the bottom of the pan becomes slightly brown.

Add the red wine and the boiling liquid from preparing the tongue.

Add the tomato and bay leaves and keep stirring until the flour amalgamates.

Add the beef tongue and simmer for 30-40 minutes (#1).

Remove the cubes of tongue and set aside (#3)

Remove the bay leaves. Using an immersion blender, blend the vegetables and the liquid (#2). If it is too thick, add more liquid to the appropriate consistency.

Add back the tongue and simmer for 30 minutes (#4).

Taste and seasoned it with salt and pepper.

Garnished with the blanched rapini (optional) and drizzle cream on the top.

OMG this stew was something else–very flavorful! The tongue was very tender but did not disintegrate. The stew had a very unique and pleasant texture. The flavor was rich, unctuous, full of umami.  This was so good there is no way it could be good for you.

My wife mentioned that the cold cut tongue she remembered was square in shape. We realized that if you slice the mid portion of the tongue, it is indeed square. The sautéed tongue was also very tender and excellent. My wife was more than quite satisfied with both tongue dishes; especially the stew. Now she wants to have this as a sandwich–with mayo and mustard on pumpernickel.

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