Slavink, loosely translated as beat finch or lettuce finch, is one of the several ready-to-prepare foods that are available at the butcher store or in the meat department of a grocery store in Holland. It is also one of the more traditional meat options for lunch or dinner.

Slavink is a variation on the blinde vink, or blind finch, another meat product. Why these birds were chosen to name these products is not entirely sure, although it is thought that the size and roundness of the product reminds one of a small bird. Okay. It is true that in medieval times, out of sheer hunger, people would eat any bird they would catch, and I am sure finches were among the bounty, but more money could be made with selling the songbird to more affluent citizens.

To this day, vinkenzettingen, or finch singing competitions, are held in parts of Flanders, Holland and parts of Germany and France. The amount of songs the birds sing in an hour are counted and whomever had more songs wins. In the early days of these competitions, the birds would have their sight taken away to keep them from getting distracted and stop singing. This would be done rather cruelly. Later on, the cages would be "blinded" instead.

Another, more plausible explanation is the fact that the slavink was created by butcher Ton Spoelder, third generation butcher who opened a butcher store in Laren in 1951. Ton Spoelder decided, with Dutch practicality, that the cost of meat would reduce greatly if customers would come to the store to purchase their meat instead of having a fleet of young delivery boys running all over town. His innovative ideas were not only applied to store management, but also to developing new products, one of which was the slavink. It is thought that the name is an abbreviation of "slager's vink", butcher's finch.

Either way, you'll much prefer this meatroll to a itty-bitty feathery finch on your plate. The slavink, nor blinde vink, at the butcher's is not a bird: it is a small meatroll, wrapped in either bacon (slavink) or veal (blinde vink).

You can use bacon or pancetta for the slavink: the bacon used in Holland is not smoked so unless you can find fresh pork somewhere, select a bacon that is not overly smokey for best practices. I like to use a thicker sliced bacon and pound it flat between cling film to make the wrapping easier.

8 oz ground beef
8 oz ground pork
5 slices of bacon
2 tablespoons of bread crumbs
2 tablespoons of milk
1 tablespoon of butter

Mix the ground beef with the ground pork, and season to taste with the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Knead in the breadcrumbs and the milk, and divide into five equal portions. Roll into small logs, approximately 3 1/2 inches long.

Place one side of the bacon on one end of the log and wrap the bacon around it. Leave the ends exposed. Roll the meat a couple of times with the palm of your hand to tighten it up. After you've done all five rolls, cover and refrigerate for about thirty minutes.

Retrieve the slavinken from the fridge about ten minutes before you are getting ready to cook them. Melt the butter in a frying pan. Place the slavinken carefully in the pan. Cook them on low-medium heat to avoid scorching the bacon. Turn them around, carefully, and cook the other sides, until all side are golden brown.

Remove the meat rolls from the pan, return it to the stove and stir in half a cup of water or a tablespoon or two of tomato ketchup, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen up all the crunchy bits.

Serve with boiled potatoes and a vegetable. Pour some of the pan gravy over the potatoes so they mash nicely.


  1. Mmmmm Heerlijk! Super website! Ik gebruik je recepten elke keer weer en ze zijn altijd als authentiek als ik ze kan herinneren.


  2. Love your recipes. Born in the Netherlands, but living in Australia. Can still read Dutch, and alternate your recipes with my well thumbed "Margriet Kookboek" Well done, love the site. Marjo

  3. Just to update you on this: No one eats this for lunch lol. Just dinner.

  4. love the webpage... just a quick question Can I freeze the prepared Slavinken and cook them another time? Seems to me more productive, since I grind my own meats, to make quite a few of these.

  5. I'm still craving for this menu, I will try it at home! Yummmy!

  6. These turned out quite nice, though I added a cornstarch slurry to the sauce to turn it into a gravy - I would have appreciated at least an estimation of the time it would take for them to be cooked through, I think mine took about an hour on a cast iron on medium/low setting.

  7. Do most recipes call for egg or no egg? I would think that having egg would make it a little more dicey to freeze raw.


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