Waterzooï (pronounced something like varterzoy) simply means to simmer in water. It’s an old Flemish dish that can be made of freshwater fish and eel but I love the creamy chicken version from Ghent in Belgium, a one-pot wonder of times past. Serve with a bowl of small boiled potatoes rolled in butter and parsley.
Wash and dry chicken. Place chicken in a large pot, and add enough cold water to just cover. Bring to the boil, skimming off any froth that rises to the surface. Slice leeks finely, and slice carrots and celery into 1 cm (½ in) slices. Add leeks, carrots, celery, bay leaves, salt and peppercorns, and simmer with a slight bubble for around 40 minutes, until chicken is tender and carrots are cooked.
Remove chicken from broth and cut it into eight pieces - 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs and each breast into 2. Strain the vegetables from remaining broth, and arrange on the base of a large, warm serving platter, or in 4 warm soup or pasta plates. Arrange 1 or 2 joints of chicken on top of vegetables.
Pour the cream sauce over the chicken, scatter with parsley and serve.
P.S. For a pretty vegetable garnish, cut a portion of leek, carrot and celery into fine matchsticks, and set aside. When ready to serve, dunk them in a sieve into the hot broth for one minute, then drain. Scatter on top of the dishes when serving, with the parsley
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