Gentse waterzooi: Belgian chunky chicken soup

Ghentse waterzooi chicken soup

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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.

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The roots of the chicken soup

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.

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.

Ghentse waterzooi chicken soup2

Try our Belgian chicken soup recipe

Ghentse waterzooi chicken soup

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.
1 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Belgium
Servings 4 persons


  • Potatoe peeler
  • Big cooking pot
  • Knive


  • 1 chicken large, around 3 pounds
  • 4 potatoes
  • 1 onion white
  • 2 carrots big
  • 2 twigs celery
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 mixed sachet of 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.
Keyword chicken, soup

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The author

Hi, I am Susanne. Good food, history and traveling are my passion. I write about it whenever I can. Thanks for reading this article.

1 Comment

  1. 1 star
    that looks delicious, very curious about it’s taste.

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