Sunday, April 3, 2011

Julia Child’s Chicken Waterzooi Soup

The first time I came across waterzooi was on a message board where people post their menu for the week. I thought that the soup had the coolest name. It sounded so exotic and exciting. Little did I know that waterzooi soup was traditionally a very basic fish soup from Belgium that has become a basic chicken soup over the years. The soup is creamy with a beautiful opaque yellow color. The soup has a bittersweet flavor from the tarragon that complemented well with the complex flavors of the French vermouth and a nice creamy finish. It is a filling soup that can stand alone as a lunch or can serve as a starter to a larger meal.

I liked the chicken waterzooi soup because it used items that I already had kitchen making it perfect for my personal challenge to clean out the kitchen during the month of April. Both of the kids really liked the chicken waterzooi soup. Miss Bubbles ate two bowls of the chicken waterzooi soup while Little BBQ ate one and half bowls of the chicken waterzooi soup. However, Dr. Lazy Palate said that the waterzooi soup was not his cup of tea. Dr. Lazy Palate did not like the flavor of the wine in the waterzooi soup, and he did not like the cream in the soup which is shocking because he loves cream.

I did make a few changes from Julia Child’s waterzooi soup. In the original recipe, she calls for 2 large carrots. I used 4 medium carrots instead. She also calls for parsley as a garnish, but I left that off because I did not have any parsley in the house. For the French vermouth, you can substitute another dry vermouth and still get a great tasting waterzooi soup. If you vere away from vermouth which is wine infused with herbs and spices, then you will lose some complex flavors in the soup, so it is best to try and find a vermouth for this waterzooi recipe.

Ingredeints for Waterzooi soup (serves 4) from Julia Child

4 medium carrots, cut into match sticks
2 medium onions, diced
2 tender ribs of celery, cut into match sticks
2 medium-sized leeks, white and tender green parts only, cut into strips
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
2 1/2 pounds bone in chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups dry white French vermouth
1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
6 egg yolks
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (I omitted this)


1. In a large bowl, toss the vegetables with tarragon, salt, and pepper.

2. Layer the bottom of the Dutch oven in the following pattern: a third of the vegetables, half the chicken, a third of the vegetables, half the chicken, and a third of the vegetables. Add the vermouth and the chicken broth. If the chicken is not fully covered, then add a little more chicken broth.

3. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender and the juice from the chicken is clear when pierced. Remove from the heat.

4. In a small bowl, mix the cream and cornstarch. In another small bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly add the egg yolks to the cream mixture.

5. Add the egg and cream mixture to the warm soup. The soup should be warm but not simmering otherwise the eggs will curdle.

6. Garnish with parsley and serve with noodles or polenta.

Posted on Your Recipe, My Kitchen, Craft-O-Manic Monday, Mangia Monday's 4.


  1. Wow, I am so impressed that your kids will eat this! I wish mine would be so adventurous. Your soup looks really delicious and interesting!
    Thanks for joining Mangia Mondays!

  2. i love the name of this soup! and it sounds delicious!

    thanks for linking up to mangia mondays!


  3. I have never heard of this soup, but it sounds like something my family would adore. Thanks so much for linking it up!



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