Belgian Chicken Waterzooi

Belgian Chicken Waterzooi

recipe image

Belgian Chicken Waterzooi

Photo by Alpha Smoot
  • Prep time
    10 minutes
  • Cook time
    40 minutes
  • Serves
    4 to 6
Author Notes

My father used to make this traditional Belgian dish for my family during the winter. Feel free to use white fish or chicken (for this recipe, I’ve used chicken)—both are delicious. It’s the ideal comfort food, with loads of vegetables, and can be eaten with potatoes or thick Belgian bread. —MarieGlobetrotter

Test Kitchen Notes

It’s no secret that chicken soup is one of our favorite winter dishes, and this Belgian iteration has all the makings of a winner: It’s easy to make, is chock-full of vegetables, and has a creaminess that’s rewarding after a day of trekking through the cold. While it’s traditionally served with white fish, we love how easy this ingredient swap for chicken is.

The developer of this recipe mentions in the comments: “Its name means ‘boiling water’ in Flemish (I know, weird). The soup dates back to the 18th century and originated in Flanders, in the city of Gand. There was a water mill by the Escaut river that people also used as a grain mill and have flour. A lot of the grains ended up in the river, which attracted A LOT of fish. As a result, fishermen arrived to the city in masses. Fish became a much cheaper and could there be cooked in many ways. When fish became more scarcer and therefore more expensive, people started using chicken instead.”

All of the classic chicken soup ingredients come together in no time. With carrots, celery, and leeks, as well as cream and cornstarch for thickening, this soup will warm the cockles. Up the ante and add some potatoes or serve it with a thick slice of bread to soak up the broth from the bottom of the bowl. We’d tell you to make a double batch, but that wouldn’t be necessary: The entire process takes a little over 30 minutes from start to finish, so feel free to make a fresh pot the next time you need some help defrosting from a winter chill. —Leslie Stephens

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter


  • 1

    onion, chopped


  • 2

    leeks, peeled, rinsed, and thinly sliced


  • 2

    large carrots, finely chopped


  • 2

    celery stalks, finely chopped


  • 4 cups

    chicken broth, divided


  • 4

    chicken breasts, sliced about ½ inch thick


  • 1 cup

    heavy cream


  • 2 tablespoons

    cornstarch


  • 1

    large egg yolk


  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


  • 1 handful

    parsley, chopped

Directions
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Cook the onion, leeks, carrots, and celery, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until softened. Add enough broth to just cover the vegetables and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the chicken and cover the pot. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the cream, cornstarch, and egg yolk. Add the cream mixture to the vegetables. Add more broth to thin as desired, stirring constantly to combine.
  4. Return the chicken to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a low simmer. Cook for 2 to 3 more minutes, until heated through.
  5. Divide the soup among bowls. Top with the parsley.

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