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Tafelspitz or Austrian boiled beef recipe image

Print Tafelspitz or Austrian boiled beef

Tafelspitz, allegedly Emperor Franz Joseph’s favourite dish, is to the Austro-Hungarian empire what roast beef was to the British. It traditionally uses the ‘tri tip’, or the ‘rump cap’, which good butchers should separate out because the meat grain runs in a different direction, but the method will work with topside or silverside. Serve with horseradish sauce, roast potatoes and green beans or creamed spinach.


  • 600g cut of rump cap, silverside or topside
  • 3 carrots, peeled & roughly chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, cut in half, skin left on
  • 1 bouquet garni (thyme, bay leaves, parsley stalks if you have any)
  • A few fresh or dried mushrooms (optional)


  1. In a casserole dish, cover the meat with water and add the rest of the ingredients. Bring the water temperature up to 140°C/Gas 1. Cook for 2 hours.
  2. While the meat is cooking, you can also add some fresh or dried mushrooms for extra richness and depth.
  3. Once the meat is cooked, carefully remove from the liquid and gently press as it cools; a carefully balanced plate with a bag of sugar will do.

Cooks notes

Boiling meat is met with some trepidation, but keep the temperature of the liquid low (just above simmering), allow enough time for the flavours to marry and you will be rewarded with a delicious and versatile cut of meat. As a cold meat, this works with virtually any seasonal coleslaw or potato salad, but a few gherkins, capers or a hint of horseradish will really lift it a level or two. The broth will be equally delicious – reserve for use in soups, risottos or stews.

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