On my recent trip to an Asian butcher in Brisbane I bought several items I had not eaten before. Beef tendons were one of these, and as I have never seen them for sale before, I had no idea what to do with them. A bit of research told me they are good in Asian style soups and stews, where they absorb the flavours of what they are cooked with. In my usual style I decided to cook them in a way where I would be able to taste the tendons themselves, without adding too many other flavours.
As you can see, beef tendons aren’t much to look at uncooked. I decided to give them a couple of hours on high in the slow cooker with just a carrot, some celery, onion and seasoning. So after two hours a knife wouldn’t go into the tendons very easily. After four hours they weren’t much better, so I had something else for my dinner. After six hours I gave up and put the tendons in the fridge for the night. The next night I put the lot into a pot and boiled it for about an hour, after which the tendons appeared to be quite soft (but still not much to look at).
The tendons at this stage had a unique flavour, I’m not sure what the mild flavour reminded me of, but it wasn’t particularly nice, but not unpleasant either. They were extremely tender, in fact soft gelatinous lumps. Some people would probably not like that, but I do. It’s what attracts me to meat like beef cheeks. Overall, the texture and flavour were a bit overpowering as the main ingredient in the dish, but in a soup or stew, combined with other meat, they would be a great addition.