The dish originated in the city of Ghent, and according to the most popular belief, the rivers around the city were abundant in fish, so the dish was invented as a new way to incorporate fish into traditional Belgian cuisine.
However, the decrease in fish population and pollution have caused this dish to be reinvented once again, and today it is commonly prepared with chicken. Although it can be found in other Belgian regions and cities, Ghent has specialized in the preparation of the dish, and there are numerous restaurants across the city which offer waterzooi as their signature dish.
It is usually paired with crusty French bread on the side and garnished with chopped parsley or chervil.
How to Cook:
# Preparation for the stock: Place the chicken in a pot of water, covering the chicken entirely. Add 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, and 1 onion, cut into approximately 1-inch pieces. Add parsley, thyme and a bay leaf and poach until chicken is cooked. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
# Cut the remaining carrots, celery, onions into 1-inch sticks and place them in a saucepan with water to cover. Cut the leeks into 1-inch sticks, slice the mushrooms and add to saucepan. Parboil vegetables in salted water. Take out the chicken when poached (no red color must be seen under the skin) and discard vegetables from stock. Strain the chicken stock through a fine sieve. Take the skin off of the chicken and cut chicken into 8 pieces. Put the chicken and the parboiled vegetables into the stock. Mix the egg yolks with the cream and add to the stock. Add the lemon juice and butter. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
# Serve in soup plates with boiled potatoes or white steamed rice.