James Bond food tafelspitz


The classic Viennese dish of Tafelspitz is, James Bond considers, ‘like no other boiled beef on earth’. As described in John Gardner’s Nobody Lives For Ever (1986), Bond is in a restaurant in Salzburg with Sukie Tempesta and Nannette ‘Nannie’ Norrich for company. Their meal, boiled beef served with a piquant vegetable sauce and accompanied by sautéed potatoes, is a ‘gastronomic delight’.

Serves three

  • c. 0.8-1kg joint of beef, topside
  • 550-600g root vegetables (eg turnip, parsnip, carrot, celeriac etc.), peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 stick of celery, thickly sliced
  • 1 onion, unpeeled and cut in half
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp peppercorns
  • ½ tsp juniper berries
  • Water (c. 2-3 litres)
  • Salt (optional)
  • Chives, finely chopped

Place the onion halves, cut-side down, in a frying-pan without oil over a high heat until the cut surfaces have blackened. Remove the pan from the heat. Place the beef, root vegetables, celery, onion, bay leaf, peppercorns and berries in a large flame-resistant cooking-pot or saucepan. Pour enough water into the pot to cover all the ingredients. Place the pot over a high heat, cover with a lid, and bring the water to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and allow the beef to simmer for 2½-3 hours. Keep the pot topped up with freshly boiled water.

After at least 2½ hours check the beef to see if it’s sufficiently tender. You should be able to flake the meat with a fork. Transfer the beef to a plate or bowl and keep it warm with a little of the broth. If wished, the remaining broth can be strained and the liquid consumed as a soup to start (you may add a pinch of salt to the broth, but I don’t think that the broth especially needs it.)

Carve the beef against the grain and serve, drizzling some broth over the meat and garnishing it with a sprinkling of chives. Accompany the beef with the vegetables (removing the onion), and apple or horseradish sauce.

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