Guus Bosman

software engineering director

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Recipe for Bulgarian roasted turkey with sauerkraut

Just like in the States, turkey is a popular dish for Christmas in Bulgaria. However in Bulgaria the turkey is roasted on top of a thick layer of sauerkraut, which makes for a wonderful side-dish. In Bulgarian, this dish is called пуйка с кисело зеле.

The turkey is served with a side of the sauerkraut and raw smashed garlic. It makes for an incredibly juicy and delicious combination. It is popular throughout Bulgaria but there are local variations to the recipe -- in other places the sauerkraut is mixed with rice, or the turkey itself is stuffed with rice. This recipe is from my parents-in-law in the Plovdiv region.


  • A turkey
  • Sauerkraut (shredded). There is no need for fancy sauerkraut here -- I used a store brand and it came out great. For a meal of 6 people, you'll need about 3 lbs, though I often use 5 or 6 lbs.
  • Salt, oil. Don't be shy with oil -- a cup of oil is not unheard of. Canola oil is most often used in Bulgaria.

Rinse the sauerkraut thoroughly, and squeeze somewhat dry. Don't overdo it -- truly dry sauerkraut loses its flavor. Clean and pat dry the turkey, then put oil and salt on the skin and inside. If you are used to using other herbs and spices, that is fine also but keep in mind that the sauerkraut will take on their flavor. You'll get the most authentic (and delicious) result with just salt. Truss the turkey and place it on top of a layer of sauerkraut. Cover the baking dish with loose foil and bake as you would normally do. Every 30 minutes or so, take off the foil and baste the turkey with the juices and, as needed, some more oil. You'll find that after an hour or so, there will be a lot of juice coming from the sauerkraut.

When the turkey is done it will most likely be "swimming" in a bath of juice. Take the turkey out of the dish and place it on a rack. Now, scoop the juice from the baking dish -- save this for future cooking, it freezes well -- but leave the sauerkraut with a little bit of juice. Place the baking dish with the kraut back in the oven, in the middle rack. Now, use the oven's broiler for 30 to 60 minutes or so, while stirring the sauerkraut every 5 minutes. This will dry it out and give it a bit of a crunch.

While the turkey is cooling off and the sauerkraut is baking, smash a couple of cloves of garlic in a small dish.

Serve the turkey with a royal portion of the sauerkraut, and mix the kraut with the garlic to taste. Добер апетит!


Annie MG Schmidt

Reliving your childhood is one of the great things about being a parent. I rediscovered the joy of Annie MG Schmidt's songs and poems. She is a very popular author in the Netherlands and her works have become classics.

Many of her poems were put on music, and Sasha and I have now (re)learned two beautiful songs:

Jaap told me that he used to sing the latter song for me a lot, 34 years ago.


Weekend before Thanksgiving

Friday night Nora and I spent an evening together while Sasha and her parents went to a music evening at the Bulgarian Embassy. They saw ensemble Svitanya from Philadelphia and the local group Lyuti Chushki.

On Saturday morning we Skyped with Jaap and Mieke and then took Nora for a long walk. We saw two people that we know in the neighborhood, which is a nice feeling. Several houses are decorated for Thanksgiving with pumpkins and fall colors. Some houses are decorated more subtle than others.

In the evening Sasha and I went out for drinks and dinner.


Silver Linings

We saw Silver Linings one night, while Nadya and Milan looked after Nora.


Haring and Paling 2012

Last night we went to the Haring en Paling event at the Dutch Embassy. The last time we were there was seven years ago.

We saw a lot of old friends and met new people. It was interesting to talk with Petra and her son Kai about raising kids bilingually.

Nora had a blast. She was super excited about meeting all these new people and she was full of energy. She got a lot of attention from old and young peope alike. A sweet 14-month old girl tried to give her food.

Sasha, Milan and Nadia really liked the eel and herring, which are imported from the Netherlands. I had dinner at home later since fish is not really my favorite food. Nora at the other hand tried her first bite of Dutch drop (liquorice). Since we call her "dropje" sometimes it is no surprise that she enjoyed the taste a lot.


34th birthday

Today is my 34th birthday and we celebrated it with Dutch appeltaart and presents. It was a very pleasant morning, with lots of phone calls and messages. Later today we'll go to the Dutch Embassy for a party.

Last night I baked an appeltaart, a Dutch apple pie, from my father's recipe. It turned out great. Nora had a few bites of smashed pie and she liked it.


Lex Struik

Our friends Jerry and Marjolein were blessed with a baby boy, Lex Struik! He was born on October 22nd, and everybody is healthy and doing well.

This means that Max is now a big brother -- something that he finds very interesting.


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