Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Recipe CXV - Gentse Waterzooi

I'm back. Sorry I was away for such a long time - I have been incredibly stressed, and cooking had become a necessity rather than a pleasure. But I'm returning with this incredibly easy and remarkably tasty Belgian dish from the city of Ghent. French, as well as Belgian food, relies heavily on the use of butter in preparation. This is no different and adds most deliciously to the overall flavour. It takes relatively little effort and will make you smile when you put it in your mouth.

One leek
Two tablespoons butter
Two carrots, peeled and diced
Four medium-sized potatoes, peeled and quartered
Salt and freshly ground pepper (usually white, but I used black)
1 litre of chicken stock or hot, salted water if none available
Two fresh bay leaves
Three sprigs of fresh parsley,
Three sprigs of chopped parsley to garnish later
Three sprigs of fresh thyme
Two large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
Half a litre of pouring cream
1 large egg yolk
Some crusty bread (e.g. baguette) for dipping

Melt the butter in a high-sided frying pan on a medium heat. Sauté the vegetables until they are soft, putting in some salt and pepper.

Put in the sprig of parsley, thyme and the bay leaves, and then add the potatoes and most essentially the stock or the hot water. You normally need chicken stock, but because you are about to add pieces of raw chicken to poach in the liquid, hot water straight from the kettle with some more salt should do the trick in an emergency.

So when you have added the liquid, put in the pieces of chicken and cover and poach for 10 to 20 minutes. It may look like a mess right now, but soon it is going to transform itself into something unbelievable...

Take a pouring jug, siphon off an egg yolk and add the cream. Stir them well. Take a little of the hot liquid from the pan so as not to shock it when it goes into the pan itself. Pour it in, add the chopped parsley and watch it become so incredibly tempting. Don't wait for too long before serving!

Although the photo doesn't do it justice, I have to admit...

Serve it in large bowls with some fresh bread.

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