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Cooked according to classic preparation rules, Tafelspitz (literally translated: the point of the table) is known to have been Austrian Hungarian Emperor Francis Joseph I's favorite meal. Viennese "Tafelspitz" for Austrians is not only a way to boil beef, but is a whole special culinary science prepared with a special cut of beef. It is not a pot roast. The authentic Tafelspitz requires a custom cut fresh piece of the hind part of beef (comparable to the American tri tip, also called silver tip); on the North American market a substitute can be fresh beef chuck brisket (not corned brisket).
The secrets of a juicy Tafelspitz are: heating the water to a rolling boil before the piece of meat is put in the water; the sudden sealing of the meat's juices as soon as the the meat's pores close when the Tafelspitz touches the boiling water; not too much salt, but enough to enhance the meat's flavor; a few pieces of vegetables (sometimes also sections of bones with marrow), the right cooking time, and the gentle rolling of the boiling water which will cook but not break the meat's fiber. This recipe is a simplified version of this very Austrian dish.
2 1/2 pounds fresh beef brisket
enough water for your suitable Dutch oven pot (about 5 Qt. pot capacity with about 4 Qts. of water) + salt (about 1/2 Tablespoon for every Qt. of water)
3 whole cloves garlic, slightly crushed, peeled
3 whole green (freeze dried) or white pepper corns
2 juniper berries (you may substitute with 1 bay leaf)
3 whole medium size carrots, peeled, trimmed (about 4 oz.)
1 small-medium onion, trimmed, unpeeled, halved (about 2 oz.)
3 sprigs fresh parsley OR
3 sprigs fresh lovage
In a suitable covered Dutch oven, bring water to a rolling boil over medium heat. When the water boils, add meat, garlic, pepper corns, juniper berries, and cover. Bring the water to a boil again and add carrots, onion, and parsley. Cover and let everything simmer for 60 minutes. Turn the meat over, add salt, and let everything cook, covered, for 90 additional minutes. Switch off the heat and let the meat steep for 20 minutes. Remove the meat from the broth and cut meat across the grain when you serve it. Serve Tafelspitz with "Apfelkren" and your choice of raw and cooked vegetables.
Note: Keep the broth for soups. Cut cold meat leftovers in thin strips and use like a meat salad mixed with raw sliced onions dressed with a simple oil, vinegar, salt and pepper vinaigrette.
How to make "Apfelkren" (apple horseradish sauce) for Tafelspitz: Combine and blend 1 pound Golden Delicious apples, cored, peeled, grated and cooked until very mushy with 1 Tablespoon wine vinegar, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice and 3 Tablespoons prepared horseradish.