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Tongue of Lamb “En Tortue”

Technique – Tongue of Lamb “En Tortue”
Chef Michaël Vrijmoed of Hof Van Cleve - Peter Goossens – Kruishoutem, Belgium
March 2010

Flemish Chef Peter Goossens’ three-Michelin starred Hof Van Cleve offers reinterpreted, upscale versions of traditional Belgian dishes. Executive Chef Michaël Vrijmoed uses agar agar to elevate a hot lamb entrée, forming a lamb tongue “tortue style” terrine that is firm enough to be cut into cubes. The reduced lamb tongue broth is already gelatinous, even after the addition of gelatin. Agar agar allows the sheet of stewed tongue and mushrooms to be cut cleanly and evenly and still be served hot.

Each terrine cube is served in a porcelain hors d’oeuvres spoon, atop a pool of Madeira-laced reduction sauce. Brightened with parsley pesto, pine nut-Parmesan gremolata and egg emulsion sauce, this rich, tender spoonful serves as a teaser for the restaurant’s lamb entrée, Pyrenees Axuria Suckling Lamb, with Jerusalem Artichoke, Chicory, and Lemon.

Step 1: Stew soaked lamb tongues in lamb stock with aromatics for 2 to 3 hours.
Step 2: Remove lamb tongues to cool. Peel, de-bone, and chop the tongues into a fine brunoise.
Step 3: Reduce cooking liquid with more aromatics and mix with reduced Madeira.
Step 4: Add agar agar to the reduction and whisk for 20 seconds. Remove from heat.
Step 5: Mix in bloomed gelatin, chopped tongue, and mushrooms.
Step 6: Rest tongue jelly in a lined baking sheet until set. Cut into cubes, heat and serve.

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Tongue of Lamb “En Tortue”
Chef Michaël Vrijmoed of Hof Van Cleve - Peter Goossens – Kruishoutem, Belgium
Adapted by
March 2010

Yield: 250 servings


Lamb Tongues:
3 kilograms lamb tongues
6 liters water
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
½ stalk celery
1 leek
4 cloves garlic
½ bunch fresh thyme
4 bay leaves
2 grams coriander seeds
4 grams Szechuan peppercorns
½ bunch fresh rosemary

Lamb Tongue Reduction Sauce:
2 onions, chopped
200 grams mushrooms, chopped
10 tomatoes, seeds removed
3 liters cooking liquid from the tongues
60 grams tomato paste
½ clove garlic
3 bay leaves
½ bunch fresh thyme

Lamb Tongue Terrine:
200 grams Madeira
2 liters sauce
½ bunch tarragon, finely chopped
½ bunch oregano, finely chopped
8 grams agar agar
6 sheets gelatin, bloomed
150 grams gherkins, small dice
180 grams small pickled onions, small dice
200 grams mushroom duxelles

To Assemble and Serve:
Parsley pesto
Pine nut-Parmesan gremolata


For the Lamb Tongues:
Refrigerate the tongues overnight in salted water to remove any blood. Strain and discard salt water. Fill a pot with fresh water, add tongues and bring to a boil. Skim any fat off the top and add the remaining ingredients. Stew the tongues slowly for 2 to 2½ hours. Allow to cool in the stock and peel. Remove any bones. Cool in the fridge and cut into ½-centimeter squares.

For the Lamb Tongue Reduction Sauce:
Bake the onions and mushrooms in a 180°C oven until brown, then add the tomatoes. Transfer to a pot, then add the cooking liquid and reduce by half. Add the tomato paste, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme and boil for 12 minutes. Strain the sauce and reserve warm.

For the Lamb Tongue Terrine:
Reduce the Madeira over medium heat, then add to ¾ of the lamb reduction sauce, reserving the remaining ¼ to serve. Bring to a boil and add the tarragon and oregano. Remove from the heat and add the agar agar, whisking for 20 seconds. Carefully stir in the gelatin, lamb tongues, gherkins, pickled onions, and duxelles. Transfer to a lined baking sheet and refrigerate. Cool until set.

To Assemble and Serve:
Cut small squares of the terrine and transfer to a 180°C oven for 2 minutes. Put on a sizzle platter and heat under a salamander until hot. Pour a shallow pool of the reserved lamb tongue reduction sauce into the bowl of a porcelain hors d’oeuvres spoon and top with a terrine square. Garnish with pesto, gremolata, and arugula and serve immediately.

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  Published: March 2010