Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Andy's Chicken Zoop!

Inspired by “Gentse Waterzooi”

Un Waterzooi de poulet pour Andy

This is based with a chicken stock which is thickened with egg yolks and cream The vegetables usually are: leeks, carrots, potatoes, maybe some celery.
Historically waterzooi was a fresh water fish dish, but these days you’re more likely to find it being made with chicken. Whatever the reason, this traditional dish remains an undisputed classic of Flemish cuisine.

When Sir Mike's husband Andy was stationed in Belgium he fell in love with the country and the food. slave thought designing a chicken soup like this based on the traditional dish would make a nice honor to Sir Andy!
Every now and then slave just has to go wild and start banging the pots and pans to make something extra special!

2 chicken breasts, skin on - bone in!
1 quarter pound stick of butter
¼ cup all purpose flour
1 qt chicken stock (low sodium) divided
Bonquet garni = (4 parsley sprigs and 1 bay leaf tied together w/cotton string)
¼ teaspoon dried thyme crushed

1 leek (white part washed and cut into 1 inch pieces)
2 celery ribs, cut in 1-inch pieces
2 Carrots (peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces)
4 medium red new potatoes Peeled and diced
1 cup of large white mushrooms (washed and sliced)

4 egg yolks
1 cup cream
1 tbs chopped parsley to garnish.

Rinse the chicken under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
 Clean, peel and cut up the celery, carrots, potatoes, the leek, and the mushrooms. Put the leeks and the mushrooms in their own bowl each.

It occurred that slave has never shown the correct way to use a peeler. They are so easy and nice. Forgive slave trying to take photos with one hand. Just hold the potato securely, and draw the blades back towards your thumb.


By using the thumb as leverage you will find this is the fastest and easiest way to get the job done.

Bonquet garni:
All of the original recipes call for making this little bundle of parsley with a bay leaf. However my grocer let me down with no fresh leaves. When this happens, you improvise!

Wrap up the 4 parsley sprigs with string and use a dried bay leaf. This is to flavor - not to mix into the dish. Once it has done its job you take it out. Note: you can find this where they have BBQ stuff but DON'T DO IT! Its the very same stuff they have with their “hardware” things at less than a 1/3 the price. Just look for “cotton”.


In Dutch oven, melt 6 tbs of butter over medium heat. Using tongs sear the chicken breasts, turning them once, but do NOT brown. (only about 2 minutes per side.) This step is only to firm up the pieces of chicken – not to cook them. Lower the heat to low. Pick breasts out and put on a plate. Season them lightly with salt and pepper to taste then lay a piece of foil over them.

In a large microwave safe bowl heat the 3 cups of chicken stock on high for about 3 minutes.

While that is heating: Use a wooden spoon to stir the flour into to butter that is left in the dutch oven. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes – AGAIN do not let it brown. Keep the heat LOW. Remove the pot from heat. Then slowly whisk the heated stock into the pot with the flour mixture and keep whisking to blend it in.
Return the pot to medium heat while continuing to whisk until the sauce thickens and comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer for one minute, while you rest your arms!

Put the chicken back into the pot (along with any juices that have collected on the plate)

Add your little bundle of 4 parsley sprigs and 1 bay leaf tied together.
Put the ¼ teaspoon dried thyme in your hand and crush it with the thumb against your palm you add it to the pot. (see how fancy! Really this is to release the oils in the thyme). By now the stock mixture should just about cover the chicken pieces, if not add a bit more stock. Let that simmer. (low heat barely bubbling)

Just let that simmer away: in a large skillet over medium heat add about ¾ cup of additional chicken stock and the remaining part of the stick of butter. As that heats, stir in the leaks, carrots, and potatoes.
Bring to a slight boil and let cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a bowl.

Put the mushrooms to the pan. Add a few drops of lemon juice into the stock. Cover and let that simmer for about 5 minutes. Then transfer these to the other vegetables in the bowl and let any remaining stock boil down until there is only a few tablespoons left in pan. Pour that into the pot with the simmering chicken.

By now the chicken has been simmering for about half an hour, check a piece with a thermometer. You want the insides at 170 degrees
This is important: Use a thermometer, you can't just go by time, there are too many variables.

When that is reached, use the tongs to remove the chicken to a cutting board.

Dig out the little bundle of “garni”, throw away and skim any fat off the top of the mixture. Sometimes just using a folded up paper towel will draw the fat right up.

What is left in the pot should be about the consistency of heavy cream. If not, raise the heat and let it boil down uncovered for a few minutes.

While that is cooking down, use two forks to remove the skin from the chicken and pull the very tender meat from the bone. This should come off with no problem. Cut the meat into bite sized pieces, about the size of the potatoes and carrots. Throw away the bones and skins they have served well!

In a medium bowl stir the egg yolks into the cream until mixed.
Using a ¼ cup measure, scoop out some of the hot liquid from the pan and whisk this into the cream, repeat this twice more, while whisking to make sure that you don't get scrambled egg! This “tempers” the mixture. Now it can be added back into the pot and whisked in to incorporate. Bring to a boil whisking constantly. Once boiling slightly, rest for about half a minute and taste test.
This is the time to add any extra salt or pepper, and maybe add a couple of drops of lemon juice.
Ready? Carefully mix in the veggies and chicken and stir. Let this blend for about 5 to 10 minutes and serve with a sprinkle of parsley and a nice warm banquette along side. Merci beaucoup! You have just done great honor to an historic Flemish dish.


NOTE: if all of this has just scared the bejessus out of you, try this even easier variation:

  • 1QT Chicken Stock (Low salt)
  • 2 carrots, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 2 celery ribs, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • ½ teaspoon parsley, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 leek, (white parts: cut in 1-inch pieces)
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 medium red new potatoes Peeled and diced
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pinch nutmeg


  1. Place the chicken in a heavy dutch oven. Add the carrots, celery, and onion: pour in the chicken stock. Let this all poach over a medium low heat. Poaching is just a low simmer. Add parsley, thyme and a bay leaf cook, about 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. Cut the leeks into 1-inch sticks, slice the mushrooms and add to pot along with the diced potatoes for about 15 minutes.
  3. Take out the chicken when poached (check internal temp to: 170 degrees) slice into about 1 inch cubes and return to pot.
  4. REMOVE the bay leaf at this time!
TEMPERING: Don't skip this step or you end up with something like “Egg Drop Soup”.
  1. Mix the egg yolks with the cream in a medium bowl and add a ¼ cup full of hot stock while you whisk, then add another. You want to be careful not to end up with scrambled egg! By adding just a little at a time the yolk “tempers”. After you have added 3 of the ¼ cups of stock, now, you can add this mixture back into the dutch oven with the chicken pieces and vegetables. Stir in the lemon juice and butter. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Finish cooking (just barely bubbling) for another 20 minutes.
  2. Serve with hot baguettes

The second way will be much easier but not as flavorful, it is a trade off. Don't feel bad if you chose the second way. Maybe you are just not ready, don't worry, you will get there. Give yourself time.

Serving and honoring is such an individual thing to do. It is just between you and the one you serve. Don't get all wrapped up in some impossible role to play. You are serving someone, not the whole world. So don't care about what they think.

As for slave it is such a joy to be serving my Master Indy!


To satisfy and restore.
To nourish, support and maintain.
To gratify, spoil, comfort and please,
to nurture, assist, and sustain
..I cook!

Please buy slave's cookbook:

The Little Black Book of Indiscreet Recipes by Dan White http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F315Y4I/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_vAT4sb0934RTM via @amazon

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