Belgian Foods

Belgian cuisine is influenced by the culinary traditions of the Dutch, German and French tables. National dishes are distinguished by simplicity of preparation, mild taste and satiety. Belgians don’t like to overload their food with condiments and flavorings. Dishes often contain a minimum amount of ingredients, which contributes to the preservation of the natural taste.

Characteristics of national Belgian cuisine

Belgium has a special tradition of cooking soups, side dishes, meat, fish and salads. Food is often neutral in taste and pleasant aroma. Spicy and highly salted dishes are rare. The composition of the national cuisine was influenced by the presence of an outlet to the North Sea, rich in seafood, and the presence of dense forests on the territory of the country, where there was always a lot of game. Both in restaurants and at home meals, meals are often served in large portions.

The Belgian cuisine is very hearty and easy to prepare. 

Historical background

The first settlers in Belgium appeared 20 thousand years ago. However, the beginnings of traditional culinary began to take shape after the improvement of transport links during the Gallo-Roman conquests. At this time, products uncharacteristic for this region began to enter Belgium, incl. wine, vegetable oils, some vegetables and fruit crops. Some spices and new methods of cooking became available to the population.

It is believed that the formation of Belgian cuisine took place in the Middle Ages. This was facilitated by the activities of monasteries, where during this period they began to brew beer and prepare cheeses. In addition, the fast days adopted in the Catholic Church, during which one can only eat bread, fish and eggs, helped expand the list of traditional dishes. Cooking these foods with specific recipes helped people diversify their diets.

Regional differences in culinary preferences

The desire of the Belgians to cook with fresh, seasonal ingredients has led to some regional differences in the national cuisine. In the north, where there is access to the sea, they cook from fish, seafood and vegetables.

In the south of the country, the climate is milder, agriculture is developed, there are vast forests and a lot of game, so dishes from game, pork and beef are more common.

Traditional dishes

Belgium is home to many dishes that are now spread throughout the world. The traditional cuisine of this country will be a godsend for people seeking to lead a healthy lifestyle.

The following healthy and hearty dishes deserve special attention:

  • Brussels soup;
  • eel with shellfish;
  • waterza;
  • carbonate more Flemish, etc.

The traditional food of this country is also popular with those who prefer fast food and often eat on the go, because French fries and thick waffles are from Belgium.

First courses: soups

The national cuisine of Belgium is dominated by hearty puree soups with a delicate taste. In addition, vegetable stews are prepared in this country.

Waterzoy

Waterzoy is a traditional stew on the tables of the people of Flanders.

To prepare a dish according to a classic recipe, you will need:

  • cod fillet – 400 g;
  • fish broth – 1 l;
  • mussels – 100 g;
  • leeks – 70 g;
  • carrots – 1 pc.;
  • root celery – 70 g;
  • potatoes – 150 g;
  • champignons – 70 g;
  • egg yolk – 1 pc .;
  • lemon juice – 1 tablespoon;
  • parsley – 20 g;
  • butter 20 g;
  • cream – 150 ml;
  • salt and pepper to taste.

The cooking process for this dish includes the following steps:

  1. The celery root and carrots are washed, peeled, cut into thin strips and fried in butter for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Leeks are chopped into rings, and potatoes are chopped into small cubes.
  3. The champignons are peeled and cut into thin slices.
  4. Chopped mushrooms and onions are added to the celery-carrot mixture and sautéed for another 10 minutes.
  5. The fry and potatoes are placed in a heated fish broth.
  6. After 10 minutes, pieces of fish fillet and peeled mussels are added to the soup.
  7. In a separate container, mix 1 ladle of hot fish broth, cream, lemon juice and egg yolk.
  8. When the potatoes are boiled, add the creamy dressing.
  9. The soup is heated for 3 minutes without boiling.

Brussels soup with dried mushrooms

This soup has become popular far beyond Belgium. It is distinguished by its low calorie content and rich taste.

To prepare it, you will need the following ingredients:

  • fresh champignons – 300 g;
  • broth – 1 l;
  • dried champignons – 100 g;
  • onions – 2 pcs.;
  • flour – 1 tbsp;
  • boiled chicken egg – 1 pc .;
  • cream – 200 ml;
  • butter – 40g;
  • parsley to taste;
  • spices to taste.

Cooking steps:

  1. Dry and fresh mushrooms are passed through a meat grinder.
  2. Lek is cut into cubes and fried until transparent.
  3. Mushroom porridge is added to the onion.
  4. When the mushrooms are fried, flour is added to the mixture.
  5. The frying is moved into a saucepan with already heated broth and boiled for 3-4 minutes.
  6. Warm cream and finely chopped egg are added to the soup.
  7. The dish is salted and brought to a boil.
  8. Before serving, the soup is garnished with herbs.

Salads and snacks

Belgians appreciate the taste of fresh vegetables and seafood, which is why most salads and appetizers include these ingredients. Some dishes deserve special attention.

Liege Green Bean Salad

The Liege Green Bean Salad is not a light snack, but a complete, hearty meal. It is prepared at home and served in almost all restaurants.

The following products are required for cooking:

  • young potatoes – 200 g;
  • onions – 1 pc.;
  • green beans – 200 g;
  • bacon – 50 g;
  • vinegar – 1 tablespoon;
  • olive oil – 1 tablespoon;
  • parsley – 15-20 g.

Young potatoes are boiled and peeled. All components are crushed and mixed, and then seasoned with vinegar and olive oil. The dish is decorated with parsley on top.

Seafood – mussels and oysters

Mussels and oysters are a traditional Belgian snack. There are many ways to prepare these seafood.

Small oysters are served raw with lemon juice, and large ones are stewed with vegetables.

Mussels are often eaten smoked. In addition, these shellfish are served boiled with beer, spicy and creamy sauces. Mussels are often eaten with fries.

In Belgium they love and know how to cook seafood dishes.

Brussels sprouts

The preparation process for this snack is extremely simple. First, small heads of Brussels sprouts are fried in vegetable oil. Then they are baked in eggs. This dish is often served with beer.

Be blank

Boudin Blanc – traditional Belgian sausages, but their classic recipe comes from France, where in the 17th century. began to cook juicy sausages with cream and milk. This dish can be made at home.

The following ingredients are required:

  • chicken thigh – 800 g;
  • pork sternum – 200 g;
  • cold brandy – ¼ st .;
  • heavy cream – 350 ml;
  • thyme – 1 tsp;
  • egg – 1 pc.;
  • shallots – to taste;
  • dried garlic – 1 tsp;
  • salt – 20 g;
  • pork intestines.

The creation process includes the following steps:

  1. Chicken and pork are passed through a meat grinder and all ingredients are added to them, except for onions.
  2. The mixture is thoroughly kneaded until a viscous consistency is achieved.
  3. Finely chopped onion is added to the minced meat.
  4. The intestines are soaked for 20 minutes in cold water, then washed and stuffed tightly.
  5. The sausages are twisted so that each segment does not exceed 13-15 cm in size.
  6. The blanks are left for 1 hour at room temperature and then boiled for 20 minutes in water heated to 90 ° C.
  7. The sausages are cooled in cold water and then fried in vegetable oil.

Main dishes

Second courses have a special place in Belgian cuisine, because they are considered basic. They are made from rabbit meat, pork, game, beef and many types of fish. There are many recipes for second courses.

Flemish fish cakes

Flemish fish cakes are made from fatty herring. They are juicy and soft, with a pleasant smell.

This dish requires the following ingredients:

  • fresh herring – 600 g;
  • egg – 1 pc.;
  • white bread – 100 g;
  • capers – 1 tbsp .;
  • garlic – 2 cloves;
  • white onions – 50 g;
  • anchovy oil – 2 tbsp .;
  • bread crumbs – 30 g;
  • vegetable oil – 2 tablespoons;
  • pepper and salt to taste.

Cooking steps:

  1. The bread is poured with water and left for 10 minutes.
  2. The herring is butchered, removing the entrails, skin, tail, head and ridge.
  3. The boneless fillet is cut into small pieces.
  4. Squeezed bread, fish and egg are placed in a blender bowl.
  5. Garlic passed through a press, salt pepper, finely chopped onions and capers, as well as anchovy oil are added to the minced meat.
  6. All ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  7. Formed cutlets are rolled in breadcrumbs and fried in a pan until golden brown.
  8. The finished cutlets are laid out on a paper towel to remove excess oil.

Chicory gratin

For the preparation of gratin, chicory salad is used. It is grown in 2 stages. In the summer, it is possible to get the root. In its pure form, it is used for the preparation of drinks. In winter, small dense heads of white-yellow color are driven out of the tuber in the dark.

To prepare gratin, you need the following ingredients:

  • thinly sliced ​​bacon – 100 g;
  • butter – 20 g;
  • salad chicory – 4 pcs.;
  • milk – 300 ml;
  • sugar – 2 tsp .;
  • nutmeg – 1/8 tsp;
  • hard cheese – 200 g;
  • flour – 20 g.

Stages of cooking:

  1. The chicory heads are removed from the core, poured into the resulting hole with a pinch of salt and sugar, and then cooked in a double boiler for 30 minutes.
  2. The butter is melted, mixed with sifted flour and milk.
  3. After boiling, grated cheese and nutmeg are introduced into the mixture.
  4. Stir the sauce until smooth.
  5. The chicory is wrapped in bacon and spread on a greased dish.
  6. Top the dish with sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese.
  7. The gratin is baked for 15 minutes in the oven at 200 ° C.

Stump

Stump is a traditional Belgian side dish.

This dish requires the following ingredients:

  • potatoes – 500 g;
  • boiled carrots – 150 g;
  • Brussels sprouts – 200 g;
  • onion – 1 pc .;
  • milk – 1 tbsp .;
  • vegetable oil – 2 tablespoons;
  • nutmeg – a pinch;
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Cooking process:

  1. The potatoes and cabbage are peeled, chopped and boiled until tender, and then pounded.
  2. Chop onions and carrots and fry in vegetable oil.
  3. All components are poured with milk and mixed thoroughly.

Traditional omelet

Omelet is a traditional Belgian breakfast.

To prepare it, you need:

  • eggs – 2 pcs.;
  • flour – 10 g;
  • ham – 20 g;
  • carbonated water – 20 ml;
  • butter – 10 g;
  • champignons – 3-5 pcs.;
  • parsley – a bunch;
  • pepper and salt to taste.

Cooking a dish includes the following steps:

  1. Whisk the whites in a separate container, and then combine them with salt, flour, water and yolks.
  2. Parsley and ham are chopped, seasoned with spices and stewed for 10 minutes, then the egg mixture is added to them.
  3. The omelet is fried on 2 sides and garnished with chopped herbs before serving.

Omelet is a traditional Belgian breakfast dish.

Eel in green sauce

In Belgium, eel meat is especially prized. It is especially tasty with green sauce.

To prepare the dish, you will need the following products:

  • eel – 1.5 kg;
  • water – 1 tbsp .;
  • lemon – 2 pcs.;
  • egg yolks – 3-4 pcs.;
  • white wine – ¾ st.;
  • butter – 20 g;
  • mint, chervil, sage, sorrel, parsley – 10 g each.

Cooking process:

  1. The head, skin, tail fin and entrails are removed from the eel, and then cut into pieces of 5-7 cm.
  2. Melt the butter in a frying pan and fry the fish seasoned with pepper and salt.
  3. All herbs are crushed, transferred to the pan to the fish and left to simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Add ¼ tbsp to eel. water and white wine and boil the dish for another quarter of an hour.
  5. The fish is transferred to a plate, the yolks mixed with the juice of 2 lemons are added to the gravy.
  6. The prepared sauce is poured over the eel and left to cool.
  7. When the dish is at room temperature, it can be served.

Rabbit in beer

Rabbit meat in beer is especially popular in Belgium.

To prepare it you will need:

  • rabbit – 1400 g;
  • cherry beer – 330 ml;
  • onions – 2 pcs.;
  • prunes – 200 g;
  • thyme – 1 stem;
  • mustard – 1 tablespoon;
  • butter – 50 g;
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Cooking process:

  1. The rabbit carcass is cut into portions, salted, pepper, then fried until golden brown.
  2. Peel the onions, cut into thin rings, and then sauté on the gravy left over from the meat.
  3. The pieces of rabbit are returned to the pan, the remaining ingredients are added and simmered under a closed lid over low heat for about 1 hour.

Carbonate more Flemish

Flemish Carbonade is a traditional Belgian beef goulash with a thick sauce.

To make this dish at home, you will need the following ingredients:

  • beef – 0.5 kg;
  • Trappist beer – 0.33 l;
  • flour – 1 tablespoon;
  • mustard – 3 tablespoons;
  • white bread – 1 piece;
  • brown sugar – 1 tablespoon;
  • salted pork – 60 g;
  • onion – 3 pcs.;
  • vinegar – 1 tablespoon;
  • bay leaf – 1 pc .;
  • parsley – 1 sprig.

Cooking steps:

  1. Pork is cut into small pieces, kept in boiling water for about 5 minutes, dried, and then fried in a pan until lightly browned and removed.
  2. Beef is stewed on the remaining pork fat.
  3. The meat is placed in a separate container, and in the remaining gravy, cut into small cubes of onion with flour is prepared.
  4. Then beef, beer, sugar, herbs and vinegar are placed in the pan, and then the mixture is stewed for another 30 minutes.
  5. A thick layer of mustard is applied to a piece of bread and buried in the sauce.
  6. The dish is stewed for another 1 hour, and then the bay leaf is removed and served.

Mul-frit

Mul-frit is French fries with mussels in sour cream-mustard sauce. To prepare the clams, a little olive oil is poured into a saucepan, about 1 tbsp. white wine, add minced garlic and chopped shallots. In addition, the broth is seasoned with salt and pepper.

When the mixture boils, the mussels are placed in it. The clams are boiled for 3 minutes. At this time, chopped parsley is mixed in a separate container, ½ tbsp. sour cream, 2 tbsp. granular mustard and 2 tbsp. chopped chives. The sauce is poured over the mussels put on a plate.

French fries are often prepared in Belgium.

French fries

In Belgium, French fries are fried in pork fat. To prepare a dish, you need to melt about 500 g of lard and lightly salt it. About 600 g of root vegetables are cut into strips and placed in boiling fat for 7 minutes. Then the potatoes are removed and left in a colander for a few minutes to drain the fat.

Sweet food: desserts

Sweet food has a special place in Belgian cuisine. Delicious muffins, pies, gingerbread, brioches, waffles and chocolate are prepared in this country.

Apple in dough

Sour apples are used to prepare this culinary product. They are peeled and peeled, stuffed with a mixture of cinnamon and jam, and then wrapped in puff pastry and baked in the oven. Sprinkle with icing sugar while still hot apples in the dough.

Liege waffles

Liege waffles have a soft texture. They are baked in a round or oval shape, and poured on top with cream, melted chocolate, syrup.

Speculus

Speculos are soft biscuits made in Germany and Denmark for Christmas, but eaten all year round in Belgium. When baking, spices and brown sugar are added to the dough. Most often, cookies are baked in the form of a mill, a nut, a horse, etc. For the New Year holidays, baked goods are made in the form of Christmas trees, snowmen and Santa Claus.

Local products worth trying

Many products that are produced in Belgium can be bought and tasted even outside this country.

However, when traveling around the kingdom, certain types of food should be given special attention.

Chocolate

More than 300 varieties of this delicacy are produced in Belgium. Pierre Marcolini’s chocolate is especially popular in the country. There are several shops in Brussels named after this master.

Beer

Beer is both a standalone drink in Belgium and an ingredient in many traditional dishes.

The most popular varieties include:

  1. Gez.
  2. Trappino.
  3. Scream.
  4. Lambik.

Belgian chocolates and beers are considered some of the finest in the world.

Cheese

More than 300 varieties of cheeses are produced in Belgium according to traditional and original recipes. They add nuts, spices, herbs, etc. In addition, many types of blue cheese are produced in Belgium.

Typical food and products

The Belgian’s diet includes animal and poultry meat, as well as fish and seafood. Mashed potatoes and vegetable stews are often used as a side dish. In addition, the menu of the inhabitants of this country includes cereals from cereals. Belgium produces many varieties of baked goods and a range of traditional drinks.

Meat and poultry

In Belgium, pork and beef dishes are considered the main ones. On average, every inhabitant of this country eats up to 100 kg of meat per year. In addition, poultry and game dishes occupy a special place in Belgian cuisine. Often, when cooking meat, additives of sweet and sour foods are used, incl. honey, berries and fruits. In most cases, beer is used as a marinade.

A fish

Fish is an important part of the Belgian diet.

There are many recipes for preparing seafood dishes. Most often, french fries are a side dish to the latter.

Vegetables and fruits

The Belgians love the seasonal fruits and vegetables grown in this country.

The most popular are:

  • celery;
  • swede;
  • kohlrabi;
  • broccoli;
  • asparagus;
  • carrot;
  • potato;
  • legumes;
  • Brussels sprouts;
  • lettuce chicory.

The most sought-after berries and fruits in Belgium are garden strawberries, apples, pears and grapes.

Bakery products

A large number of small private bakeries operate in almost all Belgian cities. They prepare more than 25 varieties of bakery products. The Belgians love fresh bread and pies with different fillings.

Beverages

The most popular alcoholic beverage in Belgium is beer. An adult resident of this country drinks up to 93 liters of this drink per year. Among non-alcoholic drinks, coffee is in the lead.