#MyFoodStory Pickled Beef Tongue with Mustard Sauce

"The Christmas menu was a big deal", is the nostalgic reflection of Chef Eric when asked about his favourite Christmas food memories. "We often spent summer holidays on my grandparent's farm in the Rustenburg district. Long before it was fashionable, they knew all about nose to tail and Ouma Rina's pickled beef tongue with mustard sauce was the highlight of the festive table. I can't do Christmas without it!"

South African cuisine often combines sweet, savoury and acidic notes in one dish and there is no better example than this pickled tongue with mustard. It is a challenge for wine, but the versatility of La Motte's Pierneef collection has the answer. The crisp elegance of the 2018 Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc and the suave floral notes of the 2016 Pierneef Syrah Viognier ensure them both to be lovely partners to the dish.

Pickled Beef Tongue


2 Ox tongues - brined for two days before cooking.

Beef brine

1.5 kg water

1 kg Ice

1.25 tbs pickling spice

250 g salt

150 g Demerara sugar

25 g pink salt

1 bay leaf

5 g thyme

Bring the water to a boil and dissolve the salt into it. Take off the heat and add remaining ingredients. Allow to cool completely before pouring the liquid over the tongues. Brine for two to six days.

Pickling spice

80 g black peppercorns

25 g mustard seeds

20 g coriander seeds

10 g hot red pepper flakes

20 g all spice berries

10 g cinnamon

2 g bay leaves

5 g whole cloves

10 g ground ginger

To cook the pickled tongues

2 celery sticks      

1 onion

1 leek

1 carrot

2 thyme sprigs

2 bay leaves

Rinse the tongues thoroughly and place in a pot with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes. Discard the cooking water.

Cover the tongues with fresh water, add all the vegetables and simmer for 3 to 4 hours. The tongues need to be soft. Test them by poking the tip of the tongue with a skewer - they are ready when there is very little to no resistance. Allow tongues to cool in the cooking liquid. When cool enough to handle, peel the skins off the tongues and refrigerate until ready to use.

Mustard Sauce

200 g sugar

300 g white wine vinegar

300 g Dijon mustard

2 eggs

10 g salt

5 g corn flour slurry

Bring sugar, vinegar and beaten eggs to 80 degrees over low heat, stirring continually. The mixture will thicken and is prone to catching at the bottom, so the continuous stirring is crucial. When the mixture reaches 80 degrees, add the corn flour slurry and cook until it reaches 90 degrees. Remove from the heat and allow to cool down before whisking in the mustard. Check the seasoning and bottle for later use. 

Spring onion and burnt garlic dressing 

6 garlic cloves very finely sliced

6 spring onions very finely sliced

100 ml olive oil

50 g sherry vinegar

50 g whole grain mustard

30 g  parsley chiffonade

5 g salt

Fry garlic in the olive oil until light brown and bitter. Remove garlic from the pan.  Add  spring onions and fry until golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat and add the mustard, sherry vinegar and cooked garlic. Allow to cool before adding the parsley.

Serve with the tongue and sweet mustard and your choice of 2018 Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc or 2016 Pierneef Syrah Viognier.