Balkenbrij is a traditional Dutch dish, made of pork and buckwheat.

Traditionally, it was made after the slaughtering of the fatted hog. The word 'balkenbrij' dates from the Middle Ages or even earlier. 'Balken' is derived from 'balg' which means offal or leftovers, brij means mush or gruel.

The idea you get from this combination of words is probably the right one... balkenbrij is a kind of porridge made from pork and buckwheat, left to cool and then sliced and fried. Recipes vary, but they always contain pork liver and those bits of meat that aren't really suitable for anything else, plus a combination of exotic spices.

Even though this dish dates from ages long past, it is still sold or even made by people at home. The mother of a friend sometimes served it with lunch. I always thought it was totally gross, but if you want to try for yourself, here's a recipe:


  • 200 grams pork for stirfrying, or if you can get it, meat from a pig's head
  • 100 grams fresh pork strips or thick bacon
  • 50 grams pork liver
  • 50 grams raisins (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 200 grams buckwheat flour
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • cinnamon, pepper, allspice, ginger
  • buckwheat flour for coating
  • margarine for frying
Wash the raisins. Mix together the brown sugar with a dash of pepper, one teaspoon allspice, half a teaspoon each of ground ginger and cinnamon.
Boil the pork together with the liver for about one hour in one liter of salted water. Take out the meat and finely chop and cut. Bring the broth to a boil again and add the washed raisins, the spice mix, and all the chopped meat.
Add the buckwheat flour gradually, constantly stirring the mix, and let it boil for ten minutes. In the meantime, rinse a pudding or other form with cold water and pour the mix into it when ready.
Let the mix cool off thoroughly and then slice it. Coat the slices with the remaining flour and fry them on both sides in the margarine.
Serve hot, as is or with powdered sugar or fried apple slices. No, I'm not kidding.

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