Beef Salad known as Salata de boeuf in Romania, is a traditional salad made for Easter, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It can be served as a side dish, or a meal on its own.
Bet you’ve never had this salad before 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 New Year’s Eve. I have no idea what it is about this salad, but it’s really only made around the holidays. Sometimes I like to give you guys a glimpse into Romanian cuisine, it’s not as known as other cuisines like Italian or Chinese, but we do have some interesting recipes like this salad. We call this salata de beouf and beouf isn’t even a Romanian word, it’s actually French for beef, so basically if you were to translate that it’s Beef Salad. The funny thing is my mom almost always made this with turkey breast or chicken and that was because she doesn’t eat beef.
Growing up I was always in charge of cutting up all the meat and vegetables. It was my favorite thing to do and I took my job as a sous chef quite seriously. Now that I’m married to a Romanian I usually make this with beef, unless my brother in law comes for dinner, he can’t have beef, so then I’ll make it with turkey. It really is up to you, turkey, chicken, beef, it will all work. The salad is quite delicious and if I were to compare it to any kind of American salad, I’d say it’s probably the closest to a potato salad.
You have to realize it was quite difficult to actually turn this into a recipe, because as long as I’ve made this and my mom has made this, we always just boiled some potatoes, about 8 potatoes or so, a few large carrots, 2 turkey breasts or one big piece of beef if making it with beef, 1 or 2 cans of peas and a jar of pickles. I know, it probably sounds weird, but we always just did it by tasting it. My mom always said that the quantities for the ingredients should be somewhat equal, but one thing to keep in mind is that you want to make sure you use enough pickles. Also we always always soak the the peas and pickles on paper towels so most juice comes out of them. We also always shape it nicely with the back of a knife in a bowl and then top it with mayonnaise. I know you’re thinking holy calories, but hey’s it’s for the holidays, what isn’t loaded with calories?
I didn’t do this here, but sometimes we decorate the salad by making pretty flowers out of roasted peppers, pickles and boiled eggs, but who’s got time for that. I’m lucky if I add the mayo. The salad is quite easy to make really, boil some potatoes, carrots and meat then chop your heart out. We then mix it all together with mayo and mustard, yeah I told you it was weird, but trust me, it’s really really good! So why not try something different for your New Year’s this year?
- 2 lbs beef or turkey (white or dark)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 jar pickles, once they are chopped you'll need about 1½ cups of diced pickles, the more the better
- 2 lbs potatoes, peeled
- 1 lb carrots, peeled
- ½ cup to 1 cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- Boil the beef for about 3 hours, or use a pressure cooker to finish faster. It needs to be very tender. If using turkey or chicken, boil the meat until cooked through, probably takes about 45 min to 1 hour for turkey breast, depends on the size of your breast. Take the meat out and let it cool before chopping.
- Boil the potatoes and carrots. Let everything cool and start dicing everything.
- Dice the meat, potatoes and carrots, they should all be small pieces about ½ cm by ½ cm. Make sure you drain all the juice from the diced pickles and peas.
- Add all the veggies and meat to a big bowl, then add mayo and mustard, season with salt and pepper and mix everything together. You will end up with a big bowl of salad, traditionally we smooth out the top of the salad with a knife and spread more mayonnaise and smooth that out.
- Cover with plastic wrap and you can refrigerate it for days up to a week.
- Serve salad cold, do not warm it up.
This was actually the very first recipe I ever posted on Jo Cooks and reposted now with new pictures.