Margarita's International Recipes



Viennese Boiled Beef

boiled beef with apple horseradish sauce

I can't say that the idea of making Tafelspitz, translated into English as boiled beef, immediately appealed to me. Think what you will of me, but I just don't find meats boiled in something other than a stew appealing (I'm not a great fan of soup either). Still, I found so many recipes for this dish - and for other non-Viennese dishes also translated as "boiled beef" that had similar ingredients and cooking methods - that I thought I should leave my instincts aside and give it a try. After all, a dish said to be the favorite of Austrian Hungarian Emperor Francis Joseph I and so central to Austrian culinary arts that its name means literally "the point of the table" must have something going for it.

Perhaps it does - if made by an expert tafelspitzer. Though I tried to follow the "secrets" as to how make it, including it putting it into the water when the water is briskly boiling so that juices can be sealed, I might have overcooked it and under or over salted it. Still, for me the biggest problem with this dish was that it was rather insipid, the broth gave the meat a subtle flavor but merely that. The accompanying apple horseradish sauce was pretty good, but I prefer my meat has its own flavor rather than be a mere vehicle for a sauce.

So all in all I must say that I didn't particularly like this dish, though my guests said they thought it was good (and they might have been sincere, people do have different tastes after all). I don't think I'll make it again, but they might.

The recipe below is the one I made. I based it on several recipes I found online. They were all pretty similar though they differ in the type of vegetables to include (other possibilities were celery, garlic, lovage and gherkins) and on the cooking time. As mentioned, I served this dish with Apfelkren (apple horseradish sauce), it's traditional accompaniment, though some recipes called for it to be served with Swedish mayonnaise. I was going to serve it with Austrian Fried Potatoes, but I over-boiled them so I couldn't make them. You could also serve the vegetables on the side or serve other vegetables to accompany it.



  • 3 lbs. tri-tip or brisket
  • kosher salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 carrots, cleaned
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 2 leeks, cleaned
  • a few springs of parsley


    Fill a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven 2/3 full with water. Add kosher salt to taste. Place over medium heat until the water gets to a rolling boil. Add meat and bay leaf. Bring water to a boil and add carrots, onion, leeks and parsley. Cover and simmer for 2 1/2 hours. Turn off the heat and let sit for 1/2 hour.

    Cut across the grain and serve with apfelkren.

    Adapted from several recipes, including those at Sally's Place, Sherie's Kitchen, Acres of Austria B&B and Acti Lingua Academy.

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