Tafelspitz, is one of the most famous dishes of Austria. Basically, is boiled beef or veal in broth, and is served with spinach cream, horseradish, minced apples and roasted slides potatoes.
The name first appears at the end of the 19th century and derives from the characteristic (“pointed”) shape of the meat part. One, of the biggest lovers of this dish was Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I. According to the official 1912 cookery textbook His Majesty’s private table is never without a fine piece of boiled beef.
Tafelspitz is the tip of the lower part of the beef that reaches into the hip (knob or rear leg). Because of its fine-grained texture and thin layer of fat, boiled beef is ideal for cooking. Cut into finger-thick slices, it is one of the most famous culinary Viennese specialties.
The tradition of Viennese beef cuisine can be traced back to the Middle Ages. Different sauces and vegetables for cooked beef are already described in cookbooks from the 18th century. Potato pancakes, chive sauce and horseradish have finally established themselves as typical side dishes.
Story of the Tafelspitz
The most important source of meat in the imperial city of Vienna was beef, preferably from “Hungarian, Galician and German fattening, grazing and farmer oxen” that were specially brought in from distant areas. Beef consumption in Vienna had been correspondingly high since the 15th century. Beef steers from the Hungarian Puszta were preferred for boiled beef, and the meat had the tenderness, juiciness and flavor that made the dish such a coveted specialty.
According to legend, the boiled fillet of boiled beef was “invented” in the famous Hotel Sacher in Vienna – not for Emperor Franz Joseph I, but for his high military officers. At official court banquets, Franz Joseph I ate very quickly and only a few bites of each course. According to strict court etiquette, none of the guests were allowed to eat before or after the emperor had picked up or put down the cutlery.
The circumstance was of course much to the chagrin of those imperial and royal military at the court table, who had not even been served a meal while the emperor was putting his cutlery away again. To satisfy their hunger, they had to go out to eat afterwards. Anna Sacher received the hungry Guests from the imperial table, but never knew exactly when they would appear, so she reserved a court for the high military that could cook for hours and got even better at the same time – boiled beef.
Tafelspitz: the cut
Tafespitz cut is known in the United States as the top round or standing rump. In England is known as the Topside cut and in Australia Rump Cap cut
- 2 Kg Tafelspitz cut
- 500 Gr Beef bone
- 3 Carrots
- 1 Celery
- 1 Onion with skin
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 Tl Peppercorns
- Wash the beef bones and bring to the boil in a large pot with about 5 liters of cold water on the stove
- Meanwhile, wash the beef, pat dry and remove the tendons and skins.
- Then add the meat to the gently simmering pot together with the bay leaves, and peppercorns and let the whole thing simmer for about 2 1/2 hours on a low heat - skimming off the foam from time to time.
- Then halve the onions (including the skin) and roast the cut edges in a pan without fat.Then add the roughly chopped vegetables to the pot together with the onions and continue to cook for about an hour.
- When the meat is really tender, take it out and use a sieve to separate the soup from the vegetables.
- Then put the meat back into the soup, season with salt and pepper and let it rest for a while.
- To serve, cut the boiled fillet into slices and arrange on preheated plates. Add some of the strong beef broth as a sauce and sprinkle with chives, horseradish, roast potatoes, minced apples and creamed spinach.