Thanksgiving – Best Turkey in Amsterdam

Thanksgiving is less than a week away!

Thanksgiving is not the most popular holiday in Amsterdam. Actually everybody is talking about Sinterklaas’ arrival instead. Still you can find everything your heart desires for a great Thanksgiving dinner with friends.

There are more Thanksgiving turkey recipes online than bitterballen served in Amsterdam on Friday evening. So instead of adding yet another recipe, I will provide you with a list of ingredients, some hints on where to find them and a schedule for mastering the Thanksgiving cooking.

Let’s start with the turkey, which will make or break your dinner. A good bird should be tender, full of flavor and sweat little fat while roasting.

I don’t know very much about turkeys. To find a good turkey I rely on the expertise of a good butcher. Slagerij Zikking on Marathonweg 51 in Amsterdam is a great choice. It’s a small shop, off the beaten path and they don’t have a web site. But believe me. Owners Rob and Linda Zikking run a great butcher shop. They love their produce and can talk about it for hours. And they provide great advice on which meat is best for what dish and how to prepare it. When you go there, you will be amazed by how flavorful the meat is. It also looks distinctly different from supermarket meat – the colors are much darker and the texture much more noticeable. On numerous occasions, I have met people from Haarlem or Alkmaar in the store that had driven all the way to Marathonweg to stock up on high quality meats.

Make sure you stop by or call in a few days in advance to order your turkey. Let Rob know for how many people you are cooking and he will have the perfect turkey ready for you to pick up on Thanksgiving day.

Next to finding the perfect turkey, the timing of a Thanksgiving meal can be challenging. We had invited friends for 19:00 and wanted to have dinner for six on the table at 19:30. So we made the following little schedule to help us stay on time:

  • 15:00 Make stuffing.
  • 15:45 Turn on the oven and prepare the turkey.
  • 16:00 Place the bird in the oven, prepare the potatoes and make salad and dressing.
  • 18:30 Take the bird out of the oven and put the potatoes in oven.
  • 18:45 Make cranberry sauce.
  • 19:00 Make gravy.
  • 19:15 Carve the turkey.
  • 19:30 Dinner’s ready!

The rest is actually quite easy.

For the stuffing, start by partially sautéing 125ml of finely chopped onions and 800g of mushrooms. Then add 700ml of breadcrumbs, 1 beaten egg, 2 tablespoons of melted butter, parsley, sage and thyme. Finally, mix it all together, adding white wine to moisten and pepper and salt to taste.

Next, stuff the turkey and wrap it with bacon. Place it on two carrots on the pan and cover with a tin foil tent. Place in the oven and roast at 220 degrees Celsius for 1 hour. Then remove the bacon and foil (but keep it for later) and continue roasting for 1 to 1,5 hours at 190 degrees. When the turkey is done, remove it from the oven, cover it with the foil and let it sit for 30 minutes.

For the cranberry sauce, heat 250 ml with 250 ml sugar, add one package of cranberries and cover the pot until all berries have popped (roughly five minutes). Take off heat and stir. For the gravy, melt two tablespoons butter in a pan and add three tablespoons flour while stirring vigorously. Add wine, stock, and turkey juices to liking. In between, you will need to prepare potatoes and a salad.

Was that a recipe after all? Oh, well. Hope you’ll have a great Thanksgiving meal!