Waterzooi is a classic stew of Northern Belgian cuisine. Its name is Dutch, meaning "watery mess".
The original form is made of fish, either freshwater or sea, though today chicken waterzooi is more common. The stew is made of the fish or chicken, vegetables including carrots, leeks and potatoes, herbs, eggs, cream and butter.
Typically, fish such as eel, pike, carp and bass are used. Other fish such as cod, monkfish, or halibut can be used.
Both the chicken and fish versions are based on an egg yolk and cream thickened vegetable broth and usually served as a soup with a baguette to sop up the liquid.
Gentse Waterzooi is a specific version of the dish without fish but with chicken.
- 500g fish of choice
- 75g butter (unsalted)
- 500 cl vegetable or fish stock
- 1 leek, cleaned and julienned
- 2 carrots, julienned
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm pieces
- bay leaf
- 10 black peppercorns
- 1 egg yolk
- 250cl double cream
- Melt butter in large pan over medium heat - add vegetables, bay leaf and peppercorns and sauté.
- Stir in the butter for 5 minutes without allowing the vegetables to brown.
- Add stock and bring to boil.
- Add fish and reduce heat to allow the liquid to simmer, about 10 minutes.
- Remove fish and cut into pieces.
- To the egg yolk add 200 ml of the stock, stirring while adding - add the mixture to the pot, with the cream and bring the mixture back to just below boiling.
- Add fish and test for flavour, adding salt as required. Serve in shallow bowls. Total cooking time, 30 minutes.