Saturday, June 27, 2009
After waffles, the next most famous Belgian food is Waterzooi, a classic Flemish stew. Its name is Dutch, meaning “watery mess.” I’m not making this up. It is sometimes called Gentse Waterzooi (in Dutch), which refers to Ghent, a major city in Belgium.
The original form was based on fish, though today chicken waterzooi (kippenwaterzooi) is more common. The most accepted explanation for this is that rivers of Ghent became too polluted, and the fish there disappeared. The stew is made of fish or chicken, vegetables (including carrots, leeks and potatoes), herbs, eggs, cream and butter. It is invariably delicious, cheap and filling.
Both the chicken and fish versions are based on a vegetable broth thickened with egg yolk and cream, usually served as a soup with bread to sop up the liquid.