Belgian Brunch Part II

As mentioned in Part I, my mom and I were inspired to cook a Belgian Brunch this Easter.  Most recipes were made by my talented mom, except the Gratin, which I made.  Here’s a little information on our menu and the history behind it.

Booyah: Booyah is a stew made of primarily chicken, beef, pork, and vegetables. It was brought to Wisconsin by Belgian immigrants and is traditionally cooked in kettles on a wood-burning fire.  We first tried this delicious soup at The Belgian Delight in Brussels, WI.  On a recent excursion to Green Bay my parents tried Booyah again, this time at The Booyah Shed. Along with Booyah, they serve other tasty pub foods.  My mom really enjoyed their Booyah and based her own recipe for Easter off theirs. 

 Tripp: Belgian Sausage made with pork, cabbage and nutmeg.  Instead, of attempting to make our own homemade sausage we went straight to the experts at Maplewood Meats in Green Bay.  They carry many specialty, old fashioned products, including Tripp. They even have a 10-foot meat case, it’s meat heaven!  Their items are available for purchase through their website. 

Belgian Endive au Gratin: Endive wrapped in ham covered with a mornay sauce.  Endive, also called chicons or witloof are popular in Belgium and the North of France.  Endive is a leafy green that is in the chicory plant family.  I thought it was like cabbage, but with a little bite.  This recipe from Pardon Your French is great and does a really good job of breaking down the ingredients the recipe uses.  I’m kicking myself that I didn’t use this recipe when I made mine!  Here’s some tips/changes I would make when cooking again:

  • I would not trim the endive before boiling.  I think the leaves would stay together easier that way.  I would also maybe try steaming the endive vs. boiling.
  • I would also use a higher quality ham that was very thinly cut.  Pardon Your French recommends Parisian Ham. 
  • I used a high-quality gruyere and parmesan in my mornay sauce.  Freshly grated nutmeg would also be fabulous, but I couldn’t find any in time.

Belgian Waffles: What makes these waffles special is that they use pearl sugar.  It’s a specialty sugar used in baking.  The sugar crystals are compressed together to make pearls.  Pearl sugar also can tolerate higher heat.  I drizzled honey over mine, which was a fun twist from maple syrup.  I was able to score some great honey at Gwenyn Hill Farm from one of the many local providers they partner with called Q’s Bee’s.   I encourage you to order honey from Q’s and visit Gwenyn Hill Farm.  The farm is set on gorgeous rolling hills with beautiful and historic barns and farm buildings.  

Belgian Pies: Made with a yeasted dough crust. Unique, tasting more like a sweet bread. One was with the traditional prune filling and the other was cherry. Both were topped with a sweet cheese topping.  Cheese topping was similar to cheesecake and was so good! As mentioned in Part I, we took a lot of inspiration and recipes from the, “Belgian American Heritage Customs and Cookbook”. It’s available here for purchase from the Belgian Heritage Center.

Of course, we had to sneak in some Belgian Beer.  I’m not much of a beer connoisseur these days, so I’m going to refrain from making any recommendations.  But if you’re local, Discount Liquor, always has a large section of unique and specialty beers. 

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