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
salt
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.

Recipe: Käsesuppe

Kaesesuppe (slightly cooled, hence the separation)

Kaesesuppe (slightly cooled, hence the separation)

2 onions, chopped
30 grams (1.1 oz) butter
20 grams (.71 oz) flour
1 liter (34 oz) vegetable stock
250 grams (8.8 oz) cheese, grated
1 tsp ground cumin
salt
pepper
paprika

1. Heat the butter in a stock pot and sauté the onions until translucent.

2. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and sauté a minute longer.

3. Add the vegetable broth and bring the contents of the pot to a boil.

4. When the broth reaches a boil add in the cheese in batches and whisk to combine. Do not add the next batch until the previous one is almost completely melted.

5. Add the cumin, and season to taste with the salt, pepper, and paprika.

Recipe: Wiener Lebkuchen

Those with discerning tastebuds might detect my rage in each bite.

Those with discerning tastebuds might detect my rage in each bite.

Around the holidays you can buy buckets of pre-made lebkuchen dough at the grocery store, and now I know why. This recipe yields a dough that is so difficult to work with that there is no reason to put yourself through it unless you’re really mad about something and want to take it out on an inanimate object to avoid jail time.

The dough turned into a hard, gooey mass overnight and it took me an hour to get it to where I could roll it out. First I incorporated the extra flour and seasoning by doing some preliminary hand kneading, then I transferred it to my stand mixer in two batches. This only partially got the dough together, so I did another round of hand kneading and machine mixing. The dough broke one of the paddle attachments.

But the ordeal didn’t end there. I slightly bent the handles on my rolling pin before I gave up using them, and used only the middle part of the pin to roll. Even standing on my tip toes and throwing my full body weight into the pin I had a hard time rolling the dough to 1/2″ thickness.

Of course, the cookies tasted good and everyone in my family really liked them, so I will likely be obliged to make them again. Dammit.

500 grams (18 oz) sugar
3/8 liter (13 oz) water
500 grams (18 oz) honey
1 kilograms + 40 dag (49 oz) flour, divided
1 pinch of baking powder
1 pinch of baking soda
1 piece zested orange peel
1 piece zested lemon peel
1 to 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (to taste)
1 to 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg (to taste)
1/2 to 2/4 tsp ground clove (to taste)
1 to 1 1/2 tsp anise (to taste)
simple syrup made from sugar and water

1. Caramelize the sugar. To do this, put it in a ungreased pan with a wide bottom over medium heat. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon until the sugar starts to melt. Once it starts to melt stir continuously, breaking up clumps. Eventually the sugar will completely liquefy and turn reddish brown — caramel.

2. While the sugar is melting, heat 3/8 liter (13 oz) water in a separate wide-bottomed pan over low heat. When the sugar has become caramel, add it to the water. The mixture will hiss and boil at first, but this is OK. Completely dissolve the caramel in the water. It dissolves faster when left alone, with only the occasional scraping of clumps off the bottom and side with a wooden spoon.

3. Add the honey to the caramel water and heat thoroughly. Remove pot from heat and stir in 1 kilogram (35 oz) flour. Cover and let the dough rest for a day.

4. Add 40 dag. (14 oz) of flour and the remaining ingredients (except the simple syrup)and roll the dough out to a thickness of half an inch. Cut the dough to any shape and brush the tops of the cut-out shapes with water.

5. Bake at 350 degrees: the exact baking time depends on the thickness and size of the shape cut. The cookies that I made (pictured above) took about 25 minutes. Let the cookies cool slightly then brush the tops with a simple syrup.

Gulaschmuseum

You know that scene in “Forrest Gump” when Bubba tells Forrest all the different ways to prepare shrimp? Well, the Gulaschmusem restaurant is a lot like that, except with gulasch. The menu lists and has pictures of gulasch made with various meats and parts of meat (chicken liver gulasch, anyone?), vegetables, fish, and rice. They even boast a sweet chocolate gulasch for dessert, which is mysteriously not pictured. I guess they want to entice the diner to order it.

Needless to say, I love this place even though it’s a vivid reminder that while I have a recipe for good gulasch (view that recipe here), I doubt my gulasch will ever be as wonderfully fantastic as that available here. I don’t think I will have quite the variety, either. For example, on my most recent visit earlier this week I enjoyed the fischgulasch:

Gulasch such as I will never make.

Gulasch such as I will never make.

My husband I and both had some of this dish and couldn’t agree on whether the base for the gravy was a fish or vegetable stock. Obviously it had paprika in it, but in what proportion to the tomato, if tomato was used at all? (I thought there was tomato, my husband didn’t.) How can I re-create a dish like this when I can’t even figure out what’s in it? This is one of the things that I will just enjoy while we are here and remember fondly.

Updated Recipe: Erdäpfelsalat

I was not 100% satisfied with the Erdäpfelsalat from the recipe that I previously posted. I used the same ingredients and amounts (excepting the beef broth) from the recipe that I posted, but played around with the method a bit. The potato salad that I made today was heavenly and I think I have finally got it down.

Finally.

Finally.

500 grams (18 oz) potatoes
750 milliliters-1 liter (25-34 oz) beef stock
1/2 white onion
fat, for frying
3 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp salt
A few dashes freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely diced for garnish
chives for garnish

1. Boil the potatoes whole with skin on in enough beef broth to cover.

2. While the potatoes are boiling, finely dice the onion and fry it in melted lard until translucent. Set aside to cool.

3. When the potatoes are cooked through, drop them briefly into a bowl of cold water. (Keep the cooking broth.) Remove the skins and slice into 2″ pieces.

4. Combine the cooked onions, 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the reserved beef broth (to taste), vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar.

5. Place the sliced potatoes into a bowl and pour the broth/vinegar mix over them. Toss to coat.

6. Drizzle the oil over the top and garnish with red onions and chives. Serve at room temperature.