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Võrtsjärv Suitsukala (Meat and Vegetable Casserole)

Lake Võrtsjärv is Estonia’s second largest lake, named for the plentiful reeds (võrrits) growing on its shores. This local, dairy-based casserole is simple comfort food that is hearty and filling. Leftovers such as ground meat or suitsukala (smoked fish) are re-purposed to create this tasty dish. Estonians are heavy on pickles. In this dish, pickled beets help to cut through a rich mouthfeel. Recipe Servings: Serves 4
Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time
1 hour 35 minutes
Gluten Free
Dairy Free


  • 2 Tbsp (30 g) butter
  • 2 cups (480 g) squash, chopped
  • 2 cups (480 g) ground meat
  • 1 Tbsp (15 g) red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup (240 ml) tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp (15 g) green herbs (basil, chives, green onion), chopped
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 g) salt
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 g) pepper
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup (240 ml) milk
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) pickled beets, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Grease a large casserole dish with butter.
  3. Layer on squash, then ground meat and onion.
  4. Mix tomato sauce with herbs, salt and pepper. Pour over squash and meat.
  5. In a medium mixing bowl, beat eggs, add milk and mix well.
  6. Pour into casserole, adding more milk if needed until squash is covered.
  7. Cover and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn off heat, and let casserole continue to cook without lifting off cover for 10 minutes .
  8. Garnish with pickled beets to serve.