Look at this delicious waterzooi recipe! Do try out my chunky chicken stew with fresh leeks, celery, carrots and lots of cream… This is Belgian comfort food at its best!
Have you ever heard of this dish before?
It is a lovely classic and I prepare it a lot here at home. Especially for Sunday lunch. Not sure why, maybe because it is a heartwarming one pot creamy stew that you can place in the middle of the dinner table. And let everyone scoop up as much of it as they want.
Cream sauces are very popular here.
However I hate to make cream stews thicker by adding flour to it. Or start the sauce off with a very light bechamel sauce. No, I prefer to add thick cream. And a strong chicken stock as well for extra flavor and depth.
Waterzooi a very popular dish back in Belgium.
It looks like something in between a chunky stew and a creamy chicken and vegetable soup. The sauce makes or breaks this recipe. Key ingredient in it: the egg yolk that I add in the end.
Because the yolk binds the ingredients together just like I do in my chicken vol au vent recipe.
It is a cooking technique that you see very often in French classic cuisine to thicken sauces without having to add flour, cornstarch or sauce thickener.
This technique is called ‘liaison’.
Fish Or Chicken Waterzooi
There are two versions of this waterzooi stew.
You can prepare this Ghent waterzooi (from the lovely historical Belgian city called Ghent) with chicken and also with fish. It is totally up to you! But I can tell you right away that both taste absolutely lip smacking great.
What fish should you buy to make a fish waterzooi?
Usually white fish is used a fish stew like that. Fish like cod, haddock and even fillets of lemon sole. It’s been a while since I have made a fish waterzooi, I should make it again soon. And let’s not forget to also add a handful of grey north sea shrimp to that fish and cream sauce in the end as well!
Here’s another idea. You can also just leave the protein out and go for a vegetarian version of this dish. I’ve done that before and my vegetarian guests were extremely chuffed!
A dish to remember.
Waterzooi (Belgian Chicken Stew Recipe)
Where does its funny name come from?
The name waterzooi comes from the Flemish verb ‘zooien’ which means cooking or boiling, but then ‘zootje’ also means a mess. And water, well that’s because the dish looks kind of watery and runny. So this dish literally means watery cooked mess – but a delicious one in this case.
Because this chicken dish already contains potatoes, there’s nothing else you have to serve with it. Just a delicious glass of crisp ice cold white wine I think is all it needs to make it complete! Or maybe just a little bit of bread to mop up the leftover cream sauce in the end.
Some chefs sometimes leave our the potatoes and just serve the remaining chicken or fish and vegetable cream stew with golden Belgian fries. To which I can never say no of course.
I love my fries!
Do you love this creamy Belgian chicken stew?
Then also check out my Belgian chicken stew: chicken vol au vents with mushrooms and meatballs! That’s also a very popular Belgian treat that you can find in just about every restaurant around here – waterzooi however is a bit harder to find nowadays.
But no worries, you can make it at home from now on!
Waterzooi, Belgian chicken stew with leeks, carrots and cream!
- 1 fresh chicken leg
- 1 fresh chicken breast
- 3 cups water (720 ml)
- 1 small fresh carrot peeled
- 4- inch fresh leeks (10 cm)
- 4- inch fresh celery (10 cm)
- 3,5 oz potatoes (100 g), chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 ½ cup cream (360 ml)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 egg yolk
Place the chicken, water and one garlic clove in a large saucepan. Place it over high heat until boiling. Then turn the heat low, cover the pan and simmer the chicken for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken leg and breast. Keep the fresh chicken stock for later.
Let the chicken cool. Then dice the chicken breast up. Pick the meat off the leg. Discard any bones and skin. Slice the leek, celery and carrot finely (julienne). Add the butter, rosemary and bay leaves to a large pan and place it over medium heat until melted.
Then add the sliced vegetables. Season with pepper and salt.
Stir and cook the vegetables for 3 minutes. Then add the shredded and diced chicken.
- Cover the pan and cook the chicken and vegetables for 5 minutes. Then add the cream and ½ cup (120 ml) of the fresh chicken stock.
Cover the pan and cook the stew for 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Add the egg yolk and 2 tablespoons of the warm cream from the pan to a cup. Whisk and add it back to the pan to thicken the sauce.
Stir all the ingredients and then turn the heat very low. Check the seasoning and add extra pepper or salt to taste. Remove the rosemary and bay leaves. Divide the stew over deep plates and drizzle with the remaining cream sauce. Serve hot.