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Belgian chicken stew:
Waterzooi

What's the big idea?

This is a popular Belgian dish. I have read that it was originally a seafood stew, but that chicken is the more usual main ingredient these days. We may therefore add a seafood version at a later date, or you can adapt the recipe below and replace the chicken with seafood if you prefer. The finished stew is quite watery - somewhere between a soup and a stew. Serve with warm crusty bread.

Shopping List

Here's the list of what you need:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • Salt and white pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh parsley, plus a handful chopped for garnish
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 liter chicken stock
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 225ml double cream
  • 1 large egg yolk

What To Do

  • In a large saucepan melt the butter and fry the vegetables for 5 minutes
  • Season well. Tie together the bay leaves, parsley and thyme and add to the pan, along with the stock
  • Cover the pot and raise heat to bring liquid to a boil
  • Add the chicken breasts, cover and reduce heat. Simmer gently for 10 minutes
  • Remove the lid. Remove the chicken and slice it
  • Whisk together the cream and egg yolk. Add a ladle of the stock to the cream mixture, and mix well
  • Add this back to the pan and mix well. Stir constantly for 2 to 3 minutes to thicken
  • Return the chicken to the pan along with the chopped parsley. Adjust the seasoning if necessary
  • Ladle the waterzooi into warm shallow bowls and serve with crusty baguette for dipping

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