Any advice on making potjevleesch?

Joined Aug 29, 2000
This question came to me when a new member, ChrisBelgium, mentioned he's from the Flanders region of Belgium.

I have had the great pleasure of staying with a French family in the Nord-Pas de Calais Region of northern France. One of the unusual (to me) dishes my hostess prepared was potjevleesch, which I think means 'potted meat'. It's several meats (she used veal and rabbit, but maybe pork, too) and the meat was served cold in its gelee of meat juices and perhaps vinegar. It made a lovely summer lunch or supper. I've lost the rough version of the recipe given me by my hostess, so I'd appreciate some advice from those who are familiar with this dish.

I can Google it with the best of them, and can understand a recipe written in French. I'm looking for someone's family recipe for this dish, and to know whether there are different versions of it.

My tureen dish awaits!

Joined Oct 2, 2010


This a very ancient recipe, already found written down in the Middle Ages! Still eaten in the flemish Ypres region and indeed in the very North of France AKA French Flanders. The name "Potjesvlees" is actually flemish and means -as you could guess- potted meat. It's usually made of the "3K's", being kip (chicken) konijn (rabbit) and kalf (veal), all white meats. It's a delicious terrine, obviously eaten cold, cut in slices on some excellent bread.

Here's an old authentic recipe I found. It was in dutch. I'm sure there will be only a few french sources which publish that recipe.

- Chickenmeat 300 gr

- Rabbitmeat 300 gr

- Veal 300 gr

- pork belly

- onions, salt & pepper, thyme, laurel, white wine or (more probably authentic) white wine vinegar mixed with water

Preparation; 15 minutes - cooking time 3-4 hours!

- Spread out a layer of onionrings on the bottom of the terrine.

- Add salt, pepper, thyme and laurel

- Cut the meats in 2 different ways; one in small to medium chunks or long strips, the other in 2-3 mm thin slices

- Start filling the terrine now with a layer of chunks and cover with a layer of thin onionrings

- Cover with a layer of meatslices

- Repeat until the terrine is filled

- Add white wine or a mixture of water and wine vinegar untill just covered with liquid

- put on the stove and let simmer for 3-4 hours. Add liquid when necessary.

- Let cool down slowly and put in the fridge at least 12 hours.

As you can see, the original counts on the natural gelatine to thicken. Seems they also served it with caramelized apples.

Here's a modern version made with rabbit only;

- 1 rabbit, cut to pieces

- aromates; 2 onions, 1 good chunk of leaks, 1 carrot, 1 piece of celery, 2 leaves of laurel

- 20 gram gelatineleaves per liter bouillon

Put pieces of rabbit in cold salted water and bring let simmer. Keep removing the floating foam. Only then add the aromates. Let simmer 1-1,30 hour.

Let this bouillon cool down slowly. Carefully remove the meat from the bones and put in a terrine. Sieve and degrease the bouillon and measure it. Bring to boil again. Meanwhile soak the gelatineleaves in cold water (quantity according to the measured quantity bouillon). Add gelatine to the bouillon. Pour over the terrine and let cool in the fridge for at least 24 hours.

Mezzaluna, personnaly, I would use the 3 meats and add a good quantity of lemonjuice. When you taste Potjesvlees from a butchershop, they all are rather acidic, and always made of the 3 meats.

Also, as always, each cook makes his or her own version, so quantities are mostly just a guideline. Anyway, I learned that good Potjesvlees contains around 70% chicken, 15% rabbit and 15% veal.
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Joined Aug 29, 2000
Thanks, Chris!

My hostess's version used white wine vinegar only, no lemon. Also: my little cookbook re-surfaced, having fallen behind the larger books in the front. It has a recipe for potjevleisch! Why did I forget about this???

The book is called: Recueil de la Gastronomie des Flandres et d'Artois, by J.C. Liegeois and D. Verraest. (The first person's name I get!) There are some ingredients I don't recognize; I'd appreciate your take on this recipe as well as a translation. I get the ordinary ingredients (carrots, veal, etc.) but not all of them. I apologize for the lack of accent marks!


1 poulet

1 lapin

150 g. de poitrine salee en fines tranches

350 g. de veau

2 oignons

200 g. de jeunes carottes

Quelques morceaux de canard (facultatif)

Barde de lard

Couenne de porc

1 verre a liqueuer d'eau-de-vie de genievre



Sel, poivre

1/2 lit. de gelee de charcutier

1 Cuilleree de farine et un peu de blanc d'oeuf pour luster le couvercle

Desosser le poulet et le lapin. Emincer les oignons.

Barder une belle terrine en terre et la garnir d'une couche de morceaux de poulet et de lapin.

Recourvrir d'une couche d'oignons eminces finement. Poser dessus reste des oignons, les carottes coupees en fines lamelles.

Remettre une couche de poulet, de lapin, de veau et eventuellement de morceaux de canard. Bien assaisonner de sel et de poivre. Ajouter un peu de thym et de laurier.

Arroser de genievre. Recourvrir d'une couenne de porc et mouiller a hauteur avec une bonne gelee de charcutier.

Luter le courvercle avec une pate faite de farine et de blanc d'oeuf. Mettre cuir a four doux au bain-marie pendant 3 a 4 heures.

Variante: Il est possible de realiser cetter recette soit uniquement avec de la volaille, soit avec d'autres viandes.

Le <potjevleisch> est un plat traditionnel remontant tres loin, beaucoup de versions sont possibles. Celle-ci et facile a realiser et donne un tres bon resultat. Elle est d'origine dunkerquoise
Joined Oct 2, 2010
Hi Mezzaluna, what a great find that cookbook.

I translated the recipe and made a few remarks or expanations, they are in another color.


- 1 chicken

- 1 rabbit

- 150gr salted porkbelly in thin slices (here they refer to pork pickeled in brine. In the older days people preserved very fatty porkbelly by using "pekel" or pickle in english, which is a saltsolution as you know)

- 350 gr veal (cheap cuts! In other recipes they talk about "pied de veau" or trotter)

- 2 onions

- 200 gr young carrots

- A few pieces of duck (if you want it)

- Strips of porkfat (think style Italian lardo de collonato which might be a little more known, it has to be unprepared fat however)

- 1 glas of genièvre (in dutch very well known as "jenever". It's not the same as it's english cousin "gin", which has a too strong taste of genièvre or juniper berries. A "glass" means a small glass, that are used to drink this, no more than about 2 tablespoons. My favorite genièvre commes from Houlle, also in the north of France. Here's a link; and don't forget to pour one for yourself while cooking this!)

- Thyme, laurel, salt, pepper

- 1/2 liter meatjelly (bouillon + gelatine. In french gelée de charcutier. I would guess the original could probably be the jelly produced as a by-product from slow-cooking porkhams)

- 1 tablespoon of flour and a bit of eggwhite to "glue" the lid on


Debone the chicken and rabbit. Chop the onion.

Clad a nice terracotta terrine with the strips of porkfat (="barder". They do the same with a pâté). Cover it with a layer of chicken- and porkmeat.

Cover with a layer of finely chopped onions. Then add carrots cut in thin slices.

Again a layer of chicken, rabbit, veal and -if you want too- some duck. Season well with salt and pepper. Add a bit of thyme and laurelleaf.

Sprinkle the genièvre over the preparation. Cover with a porkrind (this is not listed in the ingredients) and fill the terrine up to the highth of the filling with a good meatjelly.

Put the terracotta lid on seal it with a dough made from flour and eggwhite. Cook in the oven in a waterbath (bain-marie) during 3-4 hours.

Other variety; it's possible to make this with poultry only, or other meats.

The <potjevleisch> is a traditional dish that goes back a very long time in history, many varieties are possible. This one is easy to make and gives a good result. It originates from Dunquerque (=North France).  

I also found 9 recipes from just one poster on a french forum! I have to look into that next week;

As you can see, there are as many recipes as there are cooks. I didn't know they serve it in the Dunquerque region on frites!
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Joined Aug 29, 2000
Excellent! Thanks, Chris. Frites... they go with anything, even frites. /img/vbsmilies/smilies//biggrin.gif
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