We arrived in Ghent mid-afternoon, driving in from Trier. After exploring the meandering streets near the hotel, we found outdoor cafe after cafe along the canal. On Saturdays, folks in Ghent settle in at a table mid-day, drinking, relaxing and chatting until the restaurant kitchens open in the evening for dinner. And it was in that atmosphere that I first sampled Waterzooi de Poulet, or chicken stew. I ordered it a few days later at a restaurant in Bruges, and it was just as yummy.
I made the Waterzooi de Poulet recipe from Rachel Ray. Before you gasp, I am aware she's not Belgian or French, but I wanted to try a simple recipe first. Once I try a recipe, I play and alter the ingredients but you have to start somewhere.
The waterzooi (pronounced water-zooj - the word zoo with the j from jungle at the end) is a leek-based chicken broth with elegant matchstick potatoes & carrots and thinly sliced chicken in a light cream sauce. It's light and airy.
You might enjoy this version of Waterzooi of Chicken published in The New York Times as Julia Childs favorite clipped recipe! Another food we discovered in our travels was the inspiration for the broth-based Tammy's Tomato Soup.