Austrian Tafelspitz with Apfelkren and Kartoffelknoedel
I made this dish with some help from Andy on Wednesday, September 9. We shared it with Tony (Andy's roommate), Lindsay (Tony's fiancee), Mike (Andy's roommate) and Kari (Tony's sister). It was definitely one of the best dishes made so far. Andy says that it may even rival Andorra as his favorite. I chose the tafelspitz because it is one of Austria's national dishes. I chose to make the kartoffelknoedel because I felt the dish needed a starch.
Tafelspitz translates to "boiled beef," which is exactly what it is. Although it takes a long time (3-4 hours), it is simple to prepare. It tastes like a pot roast: very savory. The onions and the leeks dissolve, making a gravy like sauce. The vegetables become very tender and take on the flavors of the onions and beef. The beef is very tender, almost able to be fork-cut.
Apfelkren is apple-horseradish sauce. I was nervous about it because I really dislike horseradish. This, however, was very good. The apples mask the taste of the horseradish. It is still there, but it is not nearly as powerful as it is plain or as I have had it in other dishes. I may have screwed this sauce up a bit though; I wasn't watching it while it was cooking, and I accidentally browned it and dried it out more than I think it was supposed to be. It still tasted good though.
The kartoffelknoedel (Potato noodles) was by far the biggest hit of the meal. They're fairly simple to prepare; shredding the potatoes was annoying because I was too impatient to let them cool more, and rolling the balls was a little messy. However, the finished product was well worth it. They are essentially spaetzle. I bought some store bought beef gravy to put over them, knowing how much Andy likes gravy. But, I ended up using the gravy from the tafelspitz instead, which was very good with the potatoes.
There are many different recipes for tafelspitz, and in looking for clarity on the original, I ended up using a conglomerate of several. Of course I forgot to note the links of the other recipes. In any regard, here is the recipe as I prepared it: Ingredients: -water -3 lb. beef brisket (I couldn't find a 3-pounder, so I used two 1.5 lbs.) -1 tsp. salt -15 peppercorns -canola oil -1 onion, cut into rings -4 celery stalks, cut into thin strips -2 large carrots, peeled and cut into think sticks -2 leeks, white part only, sliced -6 gherkins
Directions: 1) Heat 2 qts. of water with salt. Add beef. Bring to a boil. 2) Fry onions in canola oil until brown. 3) Add onions and peppercorns to beef. Allow to boil for 2-3 hours, adding water as necessary to keep beef covered. 4) Add vegetables to beef. Boil for 1 hour, letting the water reduce and thicken. 5) To serve, put beef on a plate and top with vegetables. Slice the gherkins out into fans and garnish the beef with them.
Here is the recipe for apfelkren, copied from the original: Ingredients: -2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and grated -1 T. white wine vinegar -1 T. lemon juice -3 T. prepared horseradish
Directions: 1) In a heavy pot, combine all ingredients. 2) Mix and cook over medium heat until very mushy.
And finally, here is the recipe for the kartoffelknoedel, tripled from the original: Ingredients: -3 lb. potatoes, peeled and cooked -9 T. butter, softened -3 eggs -3/4 c. semolina flour -flour, as needed (I needed about 1/2 c.) -salt
Directions: 1) Grate the cooked potatoes. 2) Mix the butter and egg together until smooth. Add the semolina and salt; mix well. 3) Mix butter mixture with the potatoes, adding flour as needed until you have a firm dough mixture. 4) Form into balls a little smaller than a baseball and boil in salt water for 10 minutes.