Food : Waterzooi Sint-Jakobsschelpen

I have been in a real Belgian beer and food mood recently. On the food front the turning seasons have favoured the hearty yet delicate flavours and on the beer front I increasingly have lost any enthusiasm for new world hops and now drink mainly traditional English Belgian and German beer. If I were out and about this would be difficult but in the confines of lockdown you are your own pub landlord so to speak. Waterzooi is a classic Belgian comfort food, it sits somewhere between stew, soup and chowder. Traditionally made from freshwater fish and shellfish in these times of polluted water ways ocean fish or chicken are more common. Not having much time for chicken myself I go for fish and as my freezer was full of scallops I choose them over the more normal mussels.

Ingredients

2 potatoes peeled cut to chunks and boiled in salted water
A short length of fennel sliced fine , some leaf for garnesh
1 onion sliced lengthways fine
1 carrot sliced into fine batons
1 leek sliced into fine batons
1 handful mirepoix
1/4 cup of parsley chopped
500ml fish stock
200ml Gueuze or Flanders Red/Brown
100ml cream
1/2 teaspoon coriander seed toasted and ground
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed toasted and ground
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns toasted and ground
3 bay leaves
1 sprig thyme
Salt
2 fillet firm white fish , terakihi or trevally
Bowl full of scallops
Slug Olive oil
Knob of butter

Heat olive oil and butter

Add onion and mirepoix, fry till onions are translucent, keep heat low and add some salt if they start to caramelize.

Add leek, herbs and spices. Fry for 10min till the leek is softened.

Add carrot battens, fennel, stock and beer. Bring to a low boil and simmer till carrots and fennel are just cooked.

Lower heat, add cream, add seafood , potatoes and heat till bubbles are just forming.

Check the seafood is cooked. You only want it just done. Add parsley and fennel top. Plate up.

Crusty bread and butter and wit bier or Gueuze on the side will be perfect.

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