Food Connections | Netherlands and Serbia

Beef and Pork Mince

Hacked or minced meat is dominant in Serbian food culture, in Ðevrek (doughnut meatballs), Pljeskavice (beef burgers), Uštipci (stuffed meatballs) and significally the ground beef rissoles known as Ćevap (Ćevapčići).

The method for Ćevap (Ćevapčići) is almost unique to the Balkans.

In the Netherlands they use the same method in the artisanal production of Slavinken.

Ćevap (Ćevapčići) – 1

750 g beef, neck, cubed, minced
250 g mutton/pork lean, minced
45 ml water
15g pepper
10 g salt
3 cloves garlic, crushed, chopped

Remove gristle and fat from beef, salt and leave for two hours.

Mince all the meat with a good proportion of pepper.

Make a paste out of garlic and water.

Bring all ingredients together in a large bowl and knead until the fat in the meat starts to separate onto the hands.

Refrigerate for two hours.

Knead and shape into forefinger thick sausages.

Put back into fridge for an hour.

Grill until brown.

Ćevap (Ćevapčići) – 2

1 kg beef, minced
45 ml water
10 g paprika, ground
10 g salt
10 g pepper
Olive oil, for greasing

Bring all ingredients together in a large bowl and knead until the fat in the meat starts to separate onto the hands. Leave to stand for an hour in a cold place.

Shape into croquettes, about 10cm long, 3cm thick.

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Oil a baking tray and place them together without touching each other.

Bake for 30 minutes.


The slavink was originally a songbird wrapped in a double combination of fatty bacon and pork fillet, and cooked under a hot grill. When this practice was frowned apon and banned in northern European countries, the fillet was wrapped around minced veal. Gradually minced pork was wrapped in bacon.

In the Netherlands slavinken are available ready-to-cook in the shops but they are better freshly made with a personal choice and quantity of seasonings.

1 kg pork, minced
450 g white bread loaf, sliced, 
crusts removed
60 slices streaky bacon
1 egg
30 g nutmeg
15 g pepper
Butter, for frying
Water, for soaking

Soak bread in water for ten minutes.

Break the egg into a bowl, add nutmeg and pepper to taste.

Squeeze water out of the bread, add to bowl.

Add meat.

Knead the mixture until the fat begins to separate.

The assembly of slavinken is tedious, but necessary.

The amount of meat filling depends on the size of the bacon slices.

Arrange the wrapping for each slavink by placing two slices of bacon at right angles to each other, one slice off to the left like misplaced cross sticks. Place a third slice adjacent the upright left sided slice.

Spoon some stuffing across the width of the two slices. Shape into an oblong.

Looking at the arrangement from above, fold the bottom left slice over the stuffing, followed by the top right slice. Fold the end slices, on the left and right, on top of the previous slices. Finish by folding the remaining slices on the top left and the bottom right.

Melt butter in a frying pan over a high heat. Add sufficient slavinken to fill the pan. Sear quickly on each side. Reduce heat, cover the pan and fry for six minutes each side.

Repeat until all the slavinken are cooked.