Belgian Chicken Fricassee (Vol-Au-Vent)

"This delicious, creamy chicken fricassee is a classic Belgian recipe. My father used to make this regularly for Sundays and other festive occasions. Often served as a starter, but it is great as a main course as well, accompanied by plain rice or potato puree, for example. Freezes well. Its Flemish name is "Koninginnenhapje", which could be translated as "Queen's Nibble"... nice, isn't it?"
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  • Cook the chicken breasts or the chicken in the chicken stock, until tender (breasts should take about 30 minutes, a whole chicken 45 minutes or more). Drain, but keep the stock. Let the chicken cool down a bit.
  • In the meanwhile, make tiny meatballs (max. 1 cm across) from the minced meat. Cook the meatballs in chicken stock or water until they are done -- this usually takes just a few minutes, the meatballs will drift to the top when ready. Drain them as well.
  • Make a "blonde" sauce: melt most of the butter in a medium-sized pot (don't let it become brown), add flour and mix well. Keep the pot on medium heat. Then, very gradually, add splashes (think 2-3 tablespoons) of chicken stock to this mixture. Each time you added some stock, stir very well so that the mixture doesn't become lumpy. You can start adding increasing amounts of stock when your sauce becomes liquidish. Make a sauce that is somewhat thicker than cream; you will probably use most of your chicken stock in this process. This is fine.
  • Quickly add the raw egg yolk, the lemon juice and the grated cheese to your sauce.
  • In a large pot, melt the remaining lump of butter and add the mushrooms. Stir-fry the mushrooms on medium heat until they start to "sweat" (release their juices). Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the sauce and the ham dices to the mushrooms. Add the meatballs as well. Put on low heat.
  • With your hands or a knife, pull apart the chicken and make bite-sized pieces (about 1 inch long, 1/2 inch across, or smaller). Add the chicken pieces to your mixture as well.
  • Ready! Do check if the dish needs a bit more salt or pepper. You can eat the Vol-Au-Vent as it is, with potatoes or rices; you can also pour it in Vol-Au-Vent shells (puff pastry) or even make a chicken fricassee pie (in a puff pastry pie shell).

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  1. This dish is truly delicious. Being a food-obsessed American living in Luxembourg, I have noticed vol au vent in jars in the grocery. I decided to look up a recipe, and this one captured my attention. It seems more complex than most (meatballs and ham in addition to chicken), but I stuck to the letter of the directions, and I absolutely LOVED the result. Thank you for sharing such a unique family secret!
  2. Absolutely perfect! Being from Belgian living abroad I have been looking for a good recipe for vol au vent for a long time and this takes me back home. The only thing I would change is a little less lemon juice, maybe half a lemon, but this is a just a mather of taste. Thanks for a great recipe!


I am a young Belgian woman who lives with boyfriend and son in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Because of my Belgian background, I'm quite a foodie.
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