Waterzooi, pictured, is a Belgian stew-like dish originating from Flanders
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Leeks may be approaching the end of their season but unless you have Belgian friends or family, we can bet you won't have tried them before in this yummy Belgian winter warmer.
A Luxembourg resident for 24 years, Explorator editor and Paperjam journalist France Clarinval says nothing represents Belgian cuisine better than Waterzooi, a stew dish originating from Flanders.
“In the past it was made with white river fish. It was transformed with other ingredients like chicken because it’s not expensive,” she told Delano, adding that people should feel free to tweak the ingredients, adding lobster for a fancier dish or coconut milk and coriander to give it a Thai flair. “That’s what I love about cooking, that you can always reinvent it by switching ingredients,” she said.
Clarinval grew up in Brussels in a family that was fond of eating out mainly, she says, because her mother was less keen on cooking. Clarinval discovered her love of cooking while studying. She says she taught herself to cook by meticulously following recipes.
Her role as Explorator editor brought her in contact with chefs and foodies, further feeding her passion. Today, she says she likes to cook using local, seasonal produce. “It drives me crazy to see strawberries in the supermarket already,” she said.
Try Waterzooi for yourself by following Clarinval’s recipe below.
Ingredients for 4 people
3 sticks of celery
100 g butter
1 bouquet garni
2 egg yolks
150 ml crème fraîche
Salt & pepper
Cut the chicken into four with the carcass. Cut the vegetables into thin matchsticks, leave to cook in a pan with some butter for ten minutes.
Add the chicken pieces, bouquet garni, parsley, salt and pepper and cook until golden. Top up with cold water and heat until it boils. When the water is bubbling, lower the temperature, cover the pan and leave to cook for 30 minutes.
Remove the chicken and vegetables and put to one side.
Remove the bouquet garni and let the stock reduce on a high heat.
In a bowl, whip the egg yolks into the crème fraiche, pour into a pan while stirring. Let the mixture thicken, add the chicken and vegetables. Serve with potatoes and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.
Add brown beer mixed with water during cooking. To improve the flavour, you can also throw in a veal bone or a poultry stock cube.
If the pan is big enough, cook the potatoes with the rest of the mixture.
The recipe can also be made using fish or lobster, you just need to adapt the cooking time.