Some of my favorite memories from college were the long, friend-filled dinners at the Ethiopian restaurant up the street from campus. We'd gorge on spicy braised meats, simmered lentils, and rich stews, all the while scooping up and dipping into the buttery sauces with tangy injera bread. It was messy in the most comforting way.
So, I was excited to find a recipe for Ethiopian chicken stew in Shauna James Ahern's new cookbook Gluten-Free Girl Every Day. Both the stew and the accompanying injera are naturally gluten-free, so they're an obvious inclusion in the book. The stew itself is straightforward to make, but kicked up with homemade berbere seasoning. Ahern employs a two-stage cooking technique for the chicken--dark meat first, white meat later--that guarantees tender and juicy protein. Her injera bread is a quicker take on the traditional fermented batter. Instead of letting it sit out for a couple of days to turn sour, she adds yogurt for tang and a multiplicity of flours to add depth.
Why I picked this recipe: I've long been a fan of rich Ethiopian stews, but have somehow managed to not make a single one from scratch. Plus, I couldn't wait to try my hand at making injera!
What worked: Adding the chicken breasts halfway through cooking resulted in a stew that was fragrant, rich, and (best of all) contained perfectly cooked poultry. The injera bread was equally successful and worked great for sopping up all of the saucy bits.
What didn't: Cooking the injera took a little practice, but it's not much different from making crepes. I had the best luck cooking them in a nonstick skillet when there was very little butter in the pan. A thin swipe is all you really need.
Suggested tweaks: Ahern suggests a vegetarian version of the stew with sweet potatoes in place of the chicken. Winter squash or any root vegetable would work as well. You could also serve this over rice if you're not up for making the bread.
Excerpted from Gluten-Free Girl Every Day, copyright 2013 by Shauna James Ahern with Danny Ahern. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- Yield:serves 4
- Active time: 40 minutes
- Total time:1 hour and 15 minutes
- 4 tablespoons clarified butter
- 2 medium red onions, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- One 1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1 tablespoon berbere seasoning
- 3 whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- One 3-pound chicken, cut into breasts, legs, thighs, and wings
- 1 large potato (we like to use a purple potato here), peeled and chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1/4 head savoy cabbage, sliced thin
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 lime, juiced
- Injera bread, for serving
Set a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter. When the butter is hot, add the red onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions have softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the ginger, berbere seasoning, cloves, salt, cardamom, and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the smell of the spices fills the room, about 10 minutes.
Add the chicken legs, chicken thighs, potato, carrot, cabbage, and half the chicken stock to the Dutch oven. Cook at a slow simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the chicken breasts, wings, and the remaining stock to the Dutch oven. Cook until the breasts have reached an internal temperature of 160°F, about 20 minutes more.
Finishing the stew. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and lime juice to the stew and stir until it is fully incorporated. Serve with injera bread.