Gentse waterzooi: Belgian chunky chicken stew

Our recipe for a creamy, savoury chicken soup is a Belgian legend. It warms heart and soul and is a quick dinner or lunch. It is rich in healthy ingredients. You will like this special chicken dish.

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Waterzooi is a traditional Flemish stew. The meaning of the word, which root are Dutch, ist “zooien”, which means to cook. It is also called Gentse Waterzooi, which is pointing to the city of Ghent as place of origin. This chicken waterzooi Ghent style soup is a treat for body and soul. It is a healthy choice for busy evenings or when the kids are sick.

The roots of the chicken soup

Ghentse waterzooi chicken soup2

Originally, the soup was made from fish, either fresh or salt water fish. Today chicken is a famous meat and always available. The theory, why this dish changed over time, is that the rivers of Ghent were too polluted and the fish disappeared.

Discover more: The Top 11 Belgian food you did not know about yet

Tip for super tender chicken meat

For especially tender chicken, use only chicken thighs, 1.5 kg (3 lb), about 2-3 pieces, depending on their size. The meat is the most delicate part of the whole chicken. Be sure to leave the skin on, it is important for the taste. After cooking, take the legs out carefully, as the meat will practically fall off the bone.

In general this stew can be made with fish or chicken, vegetables, including carrots, leek, potatoes, herbs, eggs, cream and butter. Usually it is served as a soup or stew with baguette to soak up the liquid.

Try our Belgian chicken soup recipe. If you want to try something different, how about a chicken Thai basil stir fry or barbequed chicken drumsticks?

Belgische Hühnersuppe

Belgian creamy chicken soup (Gentse waterzooi)

Gentse waterzooi is a classic of Belgian kitchen of which we can be proud. With this recipe you make a delicious stew of chicken, carrot, leek and celery.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr 35 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Belgium
Servings 4 persons
Calories 210 kcal


  • Potatoe peeler
  • Cooking pot
  • Kitchen knive


  • 1 chicken large, around 3 pounds
  • 4 potatoes
  • 1 onion medium size, white
  • 2 carrots big
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 mixed sachet herbs from laurel, thyme and parsley stems
  • 1 cup rich cream (200 ml)
  • fresh chervil
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon juice

For the julienne garnish:

  • 4 carrots
  • 2 leek proteins
  • ½ fennel


  • Wash the chicken and put the chicken in a large pan.
  • Stick the cloves into the peeled onion and place the onion into the pan without cutting it.
  • Add the rest of the vegetables, roughly chopped and fill the pot with water until everything is well covered.
  • Sprinkle some salt into the water and add the sachet of herbs.
  • When everything comes to the boil, let it cook on high heat for around 15 Minutes. Skim off the foam from the surface and set the heat to low heat.
  • Peel the potatoes with a peeler. Cut the peeled potatoes into cubes and add to the pot after 30 minutes of cooking.
  • Simmer for another 30 minutes.
  • In the meantime, cut the vegetables for the garnish into julienne (very thin stripes). Use your food processor or your grater.
  • After 60 minutes remove the chicken from the pan and strain the cooking liquid.
  • Bring to the boil again and add the vegetables julienne.
  • Finally add the rich cream, cut the chicken into pieces and put it back in the pan to warm it up well.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper and add a squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Serve the Belgian chicken soup in deep plates and decorate with some chervil.
  • Serve with potatoes or freshly baked bread.


You can vary the vegetables used.


Serving: 100mlCalories: 210kcal
Keyword Chicken, soup
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About Susan 98 Articles
Hi, I am Susan. I love the art of cooking and I love life! Also am keen to inspire you and try out new ways of cooking. Here on My Golden Pear I write about the latest food trends, recipes and share my travel discoveries. As I am German by birth, you will also find many authentic German recipes here. Enjoy!

1 Comment

  1. y the wait says:

    5 stars
    that looks delicious, very curious about it’s taste.

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