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Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Cuisine of Belgium

It is said that Belgian food is served with the quantity of Germany and the quality of France. The Belgians invented „French" fries – in Flemish frieten and in French – frites.The cuisine of Belgium is best described by introducing one to some typical dishes:
• Mosselen-Friet - mussels and chips
• Konjin in Gueze – rabbit cooked in Belgian Gueuze beer (which is a spontaneously fermented, sour beer from the area around Brussels)
• Stoemp, or potato mashed with other vegetables, often served with sausage (can also include cream, bacon, herbs or spices)
• Salade Liégeoise, (Luikse sla) a salad with green beans, pieces of bacon, onions and vinegar, associated with Liège
• Vlaamse stoofkarbonaden (Carbonnades Flamandes) or Flemish beef stew, similar to the French Beef Bourguignon but made with beer instead of red wine.
• Waterzooi, a mild casserole of chicken (or occasionally fish) in cream, associated with Ghent. The stew is made of fish or chicken, vegetables including carrots, leeks and potatoes, herbs, eggs, cream and butter. Typically, fish such as eel, pike, carp and bass are used. (Other fish such as cod, monkfish, or halibut can be used.) Gentse Waterzooi van Kip includes chicken. Gentse Waterzooi van Tarbot includes turbot.
• Paling In 't Groen (Anguilles au vert). Eels in a green sauce of mixed herbs.
• Gegratineerd witloof/Chicons au Gratin, Belgian endives baked in a cheese béchamel.An endive a leaf vegetable belonging to the daisy family. Endive can be cooked or used raw in salads. Endive is rich in many vitamins and minerals, especially in folate and vitamin A and K, and is high in fiber.
• Slices of rustic bread (boterhammen/tartines) and an uncovered spread, often pâté or soft cheese, served on a board and eaten with knife and fork. A typical variety is boterhammen met platte kaas en radijsjes, quark (a type of fresh cheese of Central European origin) with sliced radishes on bread.
• The Ardennes is notable for Charcuterie, or cold meat products, particularly paté, which may be made of game such as wild boar.
• Waffles, sometimes eaten as a street snack.
• Chocolate, particularly pralines (filled chocolates).
Another Belgian speciality is beer. Although a comparatively small country, there are a large number of beers available in a range of different styles. Almost every different beer has its own unique drinking vessel, usually a glass of some description. Several home and restaurant dishes use typical Belgian beers.
Liege Salad HT MC Belgian 40mins

Belgian Name: Salade Liegoise

Serves 4

450g/1lb Haricots Verts (green beans)
4 Medium Potatoes
150g/+5oz Smoked Streaky Bacon, (preferably in one piece), diced
25g/1oz Butter
1 tbsp Freshly Chopped Parsley
1 tbsp Chopped Spring Onions
2 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar


1. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan of salted water, bring to the boil and cook for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.

2. Meanwhile, place the beans in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and season with salt. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 5-8 minutes or until just tender.

3. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a frying pan, add the bacon and fry for 5 minutes, turning from time to time.

4. Add the wine vinegar to the frying pan and boil rapidly, scraping up any bits of bacon. Continue to boil until reduced by 2/3rds.

5. Meanwhile, drain the cooked potatoes then peel them and cut them into slices.

6. Drain the beans and arrange in a salad bowl.

7. Place the potatoes around the outsides, sprinkle with the chopped parsley and spring onions then pour the diced bacon together with the vinegar over the top. Serve warm.

Carbonades Flamandes HT MC Belgian 135mins
Serves 4

1kg/2lb Braising Beef
75g/3oz Butter
225g/8oz Onions, chopped
1 tbsp Flour
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
1 tbsp Wine Vinegar
540ml/18 fl.oz. Light Ale (beer)
Salt and Black Pepper
Bouquet Garni
1. Cut the meat into large thin slices. Melt 50g/2oz of the butter in a large pan, add the meat and brown on all sides over a high heat. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
2. Add the onions to the pan with the remaining butter and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes.
3. Sprinkle over the flour and stir well then add the sugar, vinegar and beer and cook, stirring until thickened.
4. Return the meat to the pan, together with the bouquet garni, salt and pepper. Mix well then cover and simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. By Rasma Raisters

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