Author note: I cooked this dish in the fall, just at the start of the colder season. This dish would be fulfilling anytime you are looking for warming, healthy and satisfying comfort food to pair with a fuller flavored craft beer.
Part 1 – Waterzooi and the set up…
After seeing the movie Julie & Julia , I’ve been inspired to make recipes from famous chefs in different beer and food books. Recently, I dove head first into an incredibly easy and rewarding Waterzooi recipe. (Check out the full recipe). This recipe is from The Best of American Craft Beer & Food by Lucy Saunders. In my opinion, this is among the best books written about American craft beer and food.
Waterzooi is a traditional Belgian dish whose name stems from Water (water/stock) and Zooi (quantity of cooked food). Saunders suggests pairing it with Strong Golden Ale.
The scene: A monthly traveling pot luck where the host of the month picks the theme.
Location: Our house in Lyons, Colorado.
The theme: On this night, all dishes are to be cooked with either beer or wine.
The guests: Our troop of close friends, four families who, serendipitously, each have two kids under the age of eight, just like us.
Some of the key ingredients in Waterzooi: We try to use organic ingredients or produce from our garden whenever we can. Our Waterzooi will include the last of the season Yukon Gold potatoes from our garden, home grown leeks (which make my eyes water when cutting) and other tasty items from the organic farm that supplies us with veggies every other Saturday.
Scanning the recipe, I realize I have forgotten what ‘julienned’ means. Also, I have to find out how to prep fennel bulbs. I wonder if there are others of my kind who exist that I can commiserate with? Using my trusty ‘Good Housekeeping Cookbook’ from 1989 and Google, I get the answers quickly.
Cooking time: At 4:50 pm, I was so distracted with the goings-on in the house – husband vacuuming, kids asking for help carving a pumpkin, alarm in my head reminding me I’m still in my pajamas and guests will arrive in 10 minutes – I accidentally add the minced shallots to the butter when I’m supposed to add the chopped chicken to brown first. Oh well. “Do your best and forget the rest,” is the mantra I mummer to myself.
I run to get dressed while the leeks and fennel cook down with the chicken, shallots and butter.Once leeks and fennel have turned soft, the rest of the ingredients are added including the recommended craft beer, a Strong Golden Ale. I’ve chosen to use Russian River Damnation .
To be continued…
Julia Herz is the Brewers Association’s Craft Beer Program Director. She is also a homebrewer, BJCP beer judge and Certified Cicerone™. Despite her extensive experience, she will always consider herself a beer beginner on an unending journey to learn more about craft beer.