Now this is an interesting salad and I can’t say I’ve had this anywhere else or seen it on any menu. But it is the most traditional salad in Romania for all holidays. If we didn’t make this, it just wouldn’t feel like Christmas, or Easter or whatever. Growing up I was always in charge of cutting up all the meat and vegetables. It was my favorite thing to do. It is very delicious but I would imagine somewhat high in calories because of all the mayonnaise. My mother always used to make it with turkey though, even though it’s called a beef salad, she just doesn’t like beef, but ever since I got married, I only make it with beef and I must say I like both versions. Now normally when I make this salad I don’t use a recipe with exact quantity for each ingredient, so it doesn’t really matter if you’re exact.
I start off with a couple pounds of really nice lean beef, chop it up in 1 inch cubes.
Boil the beef for abut 2 1/2 hours to 3 hours. Trust me, it will melt in your mouth. While I wait, I chop up the pickles, really small and place them in a bowl over paper towels, so the water drains out of them.
Clean the potatoes and carrots and place them in a big pot with water. Boil them until cooked.
Drain them and let them cool when they are done.
Take out the meat when it’s done and let cool. Now you realize you can make an awesome soup with the broth from the beef and from the potatoes and carrots.
After everything has cooled, start chopping up the beef, same size as the pickles, very small and place in a very large bowl.
Add the drained peas.
Add the pickles.
Chop up the carrots, same size, and add them to the bowl.
Chop up the potatoes and add them to the bowl.
Add the mayo and mustard, now I used this awesome mustard with horseradish, to give it a nice little spice.
Time to get dirty. Wash your hands really well and start mixing everything together really well. If you feel the salad is too dry, add more mayo or mustard. Taste as you go.
Every time I make this salad, I say I’m going to make less, but I always end up with two bowls. Separate the salad in two medium bowls, and with a knife, smooth out the top nicely, you don’t have to, it just looks better.
Another thing that’s done traditionally is add mayo on top and smooth it out. When I was a kid, we used to do all kinds of fancy designs on top of the salad, like flowers from pickles, red peppers and eggs. For now I stick to just mayo. Â Realize this step is optional.