When the Viennese talk about beef, they always mean boiled veal or Tafelspitz, the king of the beef dishes.
There is practically no more delicious proof of how firmly the Austrian cuisine is rooted in the heart of Europe than one of the most typical of Viennese dishes: boiled veal, or Tafelspitz. Good-quality beef, a few vegetables, aromatic spices and plenty of water to cook in – these are the vital ingredients. The same ingredients as when the French are creating their “pot-au-feu” or the Italians their “bollito misto”. In the case of the latter, veal and chicken meat or tongue might be added; but then some small differences should remain.
Approx. 1.5 kg beef topside (or other quality boiling beef, such as centre cut rump, chuck beef or brisket)
Beef bones, if desired
1 bunch of root vegetables
1 large onion with skin
1 – 2 bay leaves
A few peppercorns
For garnishing the soup, as desired:
Soup garnishes such as semolina dumplings or frittata
How to make it:
1. Slice the unpeeled onion in half widthways and fry off the cut surfaces without fat until fairly well browned.
2. Put around 3 litres of water into a large saucepan. Add the root vegetables, leek, halves of onion, bay leaves and peppercorns and bring to the boil. Add the washed meat and bones and, depending on the type of meat, allow to cook until softened in gently simmering water, which will take around 2 ½ – 3 hours. Meanwhile add more water as required and skim off any scum which comes to the surface.
3. Season well with salt, but only after a good 2 hours.
4. Once the meat has and softened, remove it from the pan and keep it warm in some of the liquid from the soup. Season the remainder of the soup again with salt to taste, and strain it, if preferred. Serve with semolina dumplings or frittata and freshly chopped chives as a starter.
5. Slice the boiled beef by carving across the direction of the meat tissue and arrange as preferred on pre-heated plates, or serve in the hot soup in a decorative soup tureen.
Serve with roast potatoes, a bread and horseradish mix, green beans in a dill sauce, or creamed spinach and chive sauce. If the root vegetables are to be served at the same time, cook some of them separately to be served al dente.
Cooking time: approx. 2 ½ – 3 hours