Recipe: Tafelspitz

Tafelspitz was reportedly one of Emperor Franz Josef’s favorite meals, and according to Wikipedia it is also considered Austria’s national dish.

Tafelspitz with schnittlauchsauce, apfelkren, and roasted potatoes

Tafelspitz with schnittlauchsauce, apfelkren, and roasted potatoes

2 kilograms (ca. 14 lbs, 6 oz) tafelspitz beef with a light fat covering*
750 grams (ca. 26 oz) beef bones
2 bay leaves
10 peppercorns
2 juniper berries
3 carrots
3 beets ( yellow)
1 celery ( small)
1 onion
Chives ( for sprinkling )

1. Fill a large pot with about 5 liters (ca. 21 cups) of cold water. Wash the bones and add to the pot.

2. Remove any tendons and skin from the beef, but leave the fat on. Add it to the pot, along with the bay leaves, peppercorns, and juniper berries.

3. Heat the pot on low heat and get it to just below the boiling point. Simmer the beef at this temperature for 2-2 1/2 hours, repeatedly skimming the foam from the surface.

4. About one hour before the beef is done simmering, cut the unpeeled onion and fry it in a pan until the cut surfaces are dark brown. Cut the other vegetables into large cubes, and add them and the fried onion into the pot with the meat.

5. When the meat is done boiling, lift out the meat and strain the broth. (To test meat for doneness, stick it with a fork; the fork should lightly press into the meat.) Return the soup to the strained broth and let the meat rest for a bit.

6. Once the meat has rested, cut it into slices and arrange it on warm plate. Pour some of the broth from the pan over it. Traditionally served with crispy roast potatoes, schnittlauchsauce, and apfelkren.

Reserve 300 grams if using Tafelspitz for Tafelspitzgroestl (recipe to follow).

*The cut of meat the Austrians use for tafelspitz is called “tri-tip” in the U.S. According to one of my Austrian cookbooks, an upper rump cut can be used. I don’t know whether “tri-tip” and “upper rump” are the same, but there you have it.


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