Salata de boeuf. Romanian chicken salad, an authentic recipe.
To research, and indeed find out the origins of this recipe would be an impossible task. “Salata de boeuf” means beef salad, and although it is still made sometimes with beef, 90% of the time it’s made with chicken.
Then the name “boeuf” being French for beef, but used in a Romanian recipe, as not to say “Salata de vita (bou)”. “Boeuf” is more…upper class. Pickles mixed with boiled vegetables. Mayo. Peas. Potatoes. Sometimes boiled egg whites are added, also roasted or raw peppers.
Sure, there’s potato salad with mayo, there is chicken salad, there is a Russian “pink” salad with beetroot…Nothing close to “salata de boeuf”.
- 500 grams chicken breast
- 250 grams each: potatoes, carrots, parsnip, peas, pickled cucumbers (brinned, or pickled with vinegar)
- 2 hard boiled eggs
- 250 grams mayonnaise
- chicken stock (optional)
- salt, pepper
- fresh bread, olives, chili to serve
Clean and peel the vegetables, drop them in chicken stock (or water) and bring to a simmer.
Once cooked, around 20 minutes would do, depending on size, take them out and leave to cool. They should be just boiled, not too soft, keeping the texture.
In the same pot add the skinless chicken breast. Poach for 15 minutes (for 2 pieces at about 250g each), on a low heat, they’ll remain nice and juicy. Remove and leave to cool meanwhile boil or steam the peas for a few minutes until tender.
Once all is coon enough to handle, chop all ingredients into small cubes, all the same size, not larger than the size of a pea. This will keep uniformity and the textures, more or less the same through the dish.
Season well with black pepper, add salt to taste, but keep in mind that the pickled cucumbers are also salty so don’t over season with salt.
Mix the mayonnaise. Use light mayo, or substitute some of it for sour cream for a lighter salad. Cut down on the amount of mayo used if you wish, or indeed add more to your liking.
Mix it all well, use whatever garnishes you like, pickles, olives, chili, and serve cold with fresh bread usually as a starter.
Other popular Romanian recipes:
- Two minutes roasted chicken legs.
- Romanian baked beans with smoked pig’s knuckle.
- Stuffed cabbage rolls with pork meat.