As we were planning our trip to Austria, my mom asked what we wanted to do while here. I told her that I really wanted to eat “Tafelspitz” – a very traditional Austrian dish, made by boiling beef round (simmering really, for approx. 3hrs) in beef broth, then adding root vegetables when the meat is almost done.
It is served with crispy fried potatoes, horseradish sauce (there are several kinds) and chive sauce.
My mom immediately enlisted my uncle Paul (who is a first class chef and could give any of the big names in cooking a run for their money). He gracefully agreed to prepare the dish for us and was even kind enough to ask us with whom we wanted to dine!
After extending the necessary invitations, he thought he had 8 for dinner on Saturday evening. He began preparing a couple of days in advance with gathering the ingredients.
Saturday, he began preparing the appetizers in the morning and started cooking the main dish early afternoon.
During the day Saturday, he received several phone calls which brought his total guest list to fifteen – without batting an eye Uncle Paul put up a four course meal for fifteen!
The meal began with appetizers of a variety of breads accompanied by several toppers (tomato tapenade, olive tapenade, Liptauer a.s.o.).
Then came the main dish: Tafelspitz, vegetables, Apfelkren (horseradish sauce made with apple sauce), Semmelkren (horseradish sauce made with bread), cooked beef tongue, and crispy potatoes.
It was pandemonium at the table as everyone clamored for Paul’s dishes!
Uncle Paul does not really believe in desserts and rarely serves them – uncle Paul’s friend Sylvia does. Yesterday she prepared “Topfennockerl” with three kinds of puréed fruit – it was most delicious! So delicious in fact, that it was all gone way before I could snap a photo.
For me, there was many memorable moments: the food (which is always memorable at uncle Paul’s), seeing my mom and her two brothers in the same spot, once again realizing how much my family values BHE, my niece (whom I remember as a gangly twelve year old and who is now a teenaged young lady with a very nice young man as a boyfriend), my sister, my cousins, and extended family members (some of whom I met for the first time and felt instantly connected)….I could go in and on – but I won’t!