There's nothing more I enjoy than eating my way through a destination. Sometimes it's hard to explain to how good food is through a montage of pictures. Instead, I've made it a point to recreate flavors in the kitchen. If you're lucky enough, that means a seat at the table.
Belgium is more than just frites, kip (that's chicken) and Bier, but it's one of the easiest ways to introduce even the most finicky eaters to Belgian flavors. Sadly, when I attempted to make waffles the Belgian way, my waffle maker decided it didn't need to cooperate and I ended up angrily making pancakes. *sigh*
I want to keep this as simple as possible. Therefore, the pictures should help. If you've never baked chicken, you're in for a treat. You can always use a whole chicken, but I opted for drumsticks. They are inexpensive help with portion control and easy to toss into your portable lunch receptacle. This is a slightly modified version of a recipe I found on FoodGeeks. Besides, recipes are meant to be suggestions. If you find a better way, go for it! Experiment, make a mess and have fun. Let's get started!
For the Kip you'll need
Chicken (obviously; whole chicken or two packages of drumsticks [roughly 10-12 drumsticks] ) Make sure it's cleaned!
1 medium sized lemon, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. (30ml) butter
2 tbsp. (30ml) dried rosemary
2 tbsp. (30ml) dried thyme
2 tbsp. (30ml) dried sage
1 dash of nutmeg (If you have nutmeg grater, bust it out and you'll be rewarded)
1 sm. apple, diced (I used baby Gala)
4 cloves garlic (Dorot crushed garlic cubes will save your life! 1 cube = 1 clove)
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil to coat pan.
Combine dried herbs adding salt and pepper to taste. Next, rub chicken with butter ensuring it is coated lightly including underneath the skin.
Then rub the herb mix and crushed garlic on the drumsticks. Toss in diced apples and the sliced lemon. If you are using a whole chicken, don't forget to rub the herb mix in there too. Stuff the bird with garlic, lemon, and apples.
Get the oven going by preheating it to 350°F (176°C). Drizzle some olive oil onto your roasting pan and place chicken breast down. This will prevent the chicken from getting dry. Bake for an 1 – 1.5 hours. Since ovens vary, please check on it at the 30 minute mark and adjust accordingly. You'll know it's done when the internal temperature reaches 170°F (76°C).
Let's Talk Brussels Sprouts
People used to scare me with stories about Brussels sprouts. I tried them steamed and was unimpressed. It wasn't until I had them wrapped in bacon that they became my favorite cruciferous vegetable(s). I mean doesn't bacon just make everything better? While I can't always add bacon, they are good with just a dash of salt and pepper tossed in some olive oil.
What You'll Need
1 lb (450g) of Brussels sprouts (I bought a stalk, yes a STALK)
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash your veggies and then cut them in half. Grab a bowl and toss those suckers in olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Grease a roasting pan with a bit of olive oil (I line mine with alumiunum foil for easy clean up). Bake for approximately 40-45 minutes at 350°F (176°C).
Frites are the love of my life now!
If you had told me I would be eating fries with mayo a few years back, I would have kicked you out of my house. However, a trip to the local fritterie in Bruxelles changed that. They are everywhere!
It's a two-step process to get frites nice and crispy on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside. Make yourself a little frites station and you'll be in business in no time. A pound (450g) of Russet potatoes will make a fair amount. Cut the potato in half and then each half lengthwise into strips. Next, throw them into a nice ice bath. Remove and pat dry.
Then heat oil in a pan or a deep fryer with oil to 300°F (149°C). Working in batches, you'll fry the first batch for about 5 minutes, just enough to get them crispy. Once that first batch is done, put them on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Drop a fresh batch in and repeat until all of your potatoes have gone through the oil once. You have two options: keep frying them as in they get to go into the oil for a second time until they are thoroughly cooked (approximately 10 minutes) or drain the oil from the pan and transfer the potatoes into the oven. Broil for 5-10 minutes. My oven is kinda funky so I set my broiler to high. Please adjust according to your oven settings.
There are plenty of sauces to choose from. Andalouse is a popular one, but so is the Pitta Pitta sauce. Andalouse looks like Thousand Island, but is made with red peppers. If you prefer or like to try Andalouse, try this recipe at AllRecipes.
Pitta Pitta Sauce (Lizzy Style)
1/2 c (120ml) of mayo
Pinch of pepper
1 tsp (5ml) of mint (dried is okay)
2 tbsp (30ml) of parsley
3 cloves of garlic (I used 3 cubes of Dorot)
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 tbsp (15ml) of Lemon Zest (optional)
Salt to taste
Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and then refrigerate. That's if you don't eat it all in one sitting.
Add a Bier
If you have a specialty food store near you, pick up a Belgian brewski. I love Leffe! Hoegaarden, Duvel and Chimay are also good. Belgian beer has a higher alcohol content so please take it easy and be prepared to stay put in one spot for a while.
Eet Smakelijk! Bon Appetit!