January 12, 2018
Last week we learned how to make the traditional Sunday beef soup, and, as promised, today we’ll complete the Sunday lunch with the beef itself.
After cooking the soup we are now left with the beef and vegetables we made it from. The bones and leafy vegetables can be tossed away while the rest is actually quite delicious. The easiest and one of the most common ways of dealing with the soup ingredients (as seen in the video embedded below) is to cut them as they are into slices and serve them with some sort of cooked potatoes: we can make a purée or cut whole cooked potatoes into slices. Even better, stir those cooked slices with fried onions and oil. This is the version I remember from childhood, when I loved to dip the beef in mustard.
Indeed, mustard is a classic condiment for meats of any kind in Slovenia (and beyond), especially when it comes to meats and meat products high in fat, such as sausages. Sweet condiments like ketchup, mayonnaise or even sweet mustards are a big no-no for a real Slovenian eater, who is always a bit of a cook as well. The preference here is a sharp, mustardy flavour, with lots of salt and some wine, especially in the form of vinegar, which mixed together produce the proper brownish Slovenian mustard (gorčica).
It is perhaps this habit of using salt and vinegar in combination with meat that gave rise to the idea of making a meat salad from the beef that was once used to make soup, and this is how we’ll make it:
½ kg of beef (from the soup)
balsamic or other vinegar
olive or pumpkin oil
2-3 eggs (optional)
chopped pickled cucumbers (optional)
Before we start slicing the beef, we should put it into the fridge for at least 3-4 hours, so that the meat regains some of its firmness, or else we won’t be able to cut it. The goal is to cut the long muscular fibres as thinly as possible, so we cut the meat transversely, into 2-3 mm thick slices. It may fall apart as you do it, but don’t worry, it will get even worse once we stir it with the chopped onion.
The chopped meat and onion are then mixed together and seasoned with vinegar, salt, oil and ground pepper. If you add eggs, as in some versions of the dish, then the salad will be heavier and more vinegar and water should be used. A good source of vinegar in this case is pickled cucumbers, which also add some crunchy freshness to this very rich protein-based dish.
The picture at the top of this article was taken before we stirred the eggs into the salad, and it should be noted that with the eggs the dish is supposed to look like a total mess when done right. Furthermore, as the salad tastes better if not too dry you might want to add some water to it, which is perhaps why some people like to serve it in a glass bowl – to see how much sauce has formed at the bottom and how much stirring should the next serving involve.
You can eat this salad with the other Sunday lunch ingredients or on its own, as a snack with a glass of wine. Dober tek!
Sunday lunch in one and a half minutes (of video, not cooking):