Food Connections | Minced Meat Preparations


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

The method for ćevap is almost unique to the Balkans, although the Bulgarians make a similar product called kebapcheta.

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
  • 15 g black pepper
  • 10 g salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, 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.

Kebapcheta Кебапчета

Traditionally made with a pinch of soda and a little soda water these meat rissoles are popular throghout the Balkans and eastern Europe.

  • 450 g pork shank with 30% fat, minced
  • 450 g pork shoulder with 30% fat, minced
  • 100 g bacon, minced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
  • 150 ml soda water / water (optional)
  • 15 g black pepper
  • 15 g salt
  • 5 g caraway / cumin, ground
  • 1 g baking soda (optional)
  • Vinegar
  • Water

Combine the meat in a large bowl, add the seasonings, spices and, if using, the garlic.

If the soda version is preferred, add the soda and soda water or just water at this stage.

Knead for a couple of minutes. divide into 50 gram pieces.

Splash some vinegar into a bowl of water, dip hands in water, shape the pieces into long sausages, around 12 centimetre.

Refrigerate for at least eight hours.

Bake sausages on a hot grill, rotating each side for four turns.

Serve with salad.


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 black 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.