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Flemish Fish Waterzoei (Waterzooi): A Belgian/Dutch Fish Soup Recipe

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Ingredients

Adjust Servings:
2 Lbs Fish Meat "One uses carp, eels, tench, roach, perches, barbel, for the real waterzoei is always made of different kinds of fish."
4-6 Cups Water Water should be double the amount of white wine.
2-3 Cups White Wine "Two-thirds of water and one-third of white wine till it more than covers the ingredients."
1 Stick Butter
2 Carrots
1 Onion
3 Cloves
A Pinch White Pepper
1 Sprig Parsley
1 Sprig Thyme
1 Bay Leaf

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Flemish Fish Waterzoei (Waterzooi): A Belgian/Dutch Fish Soup Recipe

"A popular form of bourgeois cookery."

Features:
  • Fish
  • Old-Timey & Ancient Recipes

Ingredients

Directions

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Note: This recipe comes from The Belgian Cookbook, a book more than a hundred years old. Published in 1915 by a Mrs. M. Luck, the recipes were compiled by her “by Belgian refugees from all parts of the United Kingdom.” As the capital for the European Union now, it feels odd to know that a century ago, Belgian immigrants were “refugees” in the United Kingdom. Nonetheless, the recipes in The Belgian Cookbook, such as this one here, are a true look into both true Belgian cuisine from the working class people and the history surrounding that era in Western Europe. The recipe ingredients and steps (instructions) will be listed as it was.

Waterzoei, sometimes spelled as Waterzooi or Waterzootje (Dutch), is a real Flemish dish, one that another publication, the 1915 version of Table Talk, Volume 30, Issue 4, states is “a popular form of bourgeois cookery.” There are two forms of waterzoei, a fish version and a fowl version; this is the fish version. According to this recipe, “one uses carp, eels, tench, roach, perches, barbel, for the real waterzoei is always made of different kinds of fish.” In both the Netherlands and Belgium, waterzoei was popular to eat leading up to and during the holiday of Lent. The Belgians would often eat it with worstenbrood, which is a kind of simple bread pastry with a sausage inside, almost like “pigs in a blanket.” However, our late English guide here, the Mrs. M. Luck, suggests to serve this waterzoei with thin slices of bread and butter; she also states that “for English tastes, the heads and tails should be removed when dressing the dish.”

Steps

1
Done

Take two pounds of fish, cut off the heads and tails, which you will fry lightly in butter, adding to make the sauce a mixed carrot and onion, three cloves, a pinch of white pepper, a sprig of parsley, one of thyme, a bay-leaf.

2
Done

Pour in two-thirds of water and one-third of white wine till it more than covers the ingredients and let it simmer for half-an-hour. Then the pieces of fish must be cut an equal size, and they are placed to cook quickly in this liquor for twenty minutes.

3
Done

Five minutes before serving add a lemon peeled and cut into slices and the pips removed. Some people bind the sauce with breadcrumbs grated and browned. You serve, with this dish, very thin slices of bread and butter. For English tastes, the heads and tails should be removed when dressing the dish.

Christian E.

Christian started as a travel writer over at Everywhere Fare's sister site, Dauntless Jaunter. He is a xenophile who loves documenting cultures through their history, legends, stories, and, as it is here, their cuisines.

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