Spring has officially begun, and soon enough we will feel it every day in the weather. It’s time for snow melting, sunshine, green grass, boatloads of flowers, chickadees and bunny rabbits. So ethnic food is a perfect fit! (Wait, what?) Uhhh yeah, you haven’t heard of Ethnic Food April?!? Totally a thing. I just made it so.
Since moving to Colorado, I’ve been exposed to new cuisines pretty often. I’ve become hooked on Ethiopian. A student in my year is from Ethiopia, and she has both shown us local restaurants and cooked a unique Ethiopian dinner in her home for us. I recently decided to attempt to replicate a full Ethiopian meal at home! This will be a series of posts, all from a ginormous dinner party I threw.
Also fittingly, this is my 200th blog post! Wow, I didn’t know I had so many things to talk about. It seems like not too long ago I was excited about my 100th Post wherein I brined and baked a whole pheasant! (Not as hard to do as it sounds, but just as delicious as you might think). My how time flies. Like pheasants. Anywho, sorry to sidetrack you, on to the Ethipoian!
Ethiopian cuisine, if you have never had it, mostly consist of various stews, eaten with your hands and the help of a unique flatbread called Injera. The bread is made from a unique grain called Teff, and fermented for several days. It is slightly sour, bubbly, and spongy. It is a very unique experience the first time you try it, but it becomes an addiction. The stews vary from purely vegan (lentils, sweet potato, etc) through various types of meats (beef, lamb, pork) and mixtures. They lay the bread on a huge middle plate, then scoop piles of deliciously spiced concoctions onto it, which you then scoop up and eat with more pieces of injera and your hands. If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend it! Even more fun as a social experience.
The Art of Ethiopian Cuisine: Part 1 – Beef & Pork
The Art of Ethiopian Cuisine: Part 2 – Chicken & Fish
The Art of Ethiopian Cuisine: Part 3 – Potatoes & Lentils
The Art of Ethiopian Cuisine: Part 4 – Cheese, Greens, & Injera
Part 1: Beef and Pork
So the ground beef stew is called Minchet-Abesh Alicha. The recipe I used was based off the recipe HERE from Food.com. Meanwhile, apparently pork stew isn’t really an Ethiopian thing (at least not that I could find much online) but the recipe I ended up sorta following can be found HERE from Thomas the Accidental Gourmet. As far as I can tell, they don’t eat pork in Ethiopia. But in America we sure do. So I decided any meat can be stew-ified and went ahead.
Ingredients (Minchet-Abesh Alicha):
1 pound ground beef
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup diced onions
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup chicken stock/water
2-3 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp nutmeg
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
The spices really make the dishes shine. But there is plenty of room for substitution. If you don’t have some spices, or don’t want to shell out for them, don’t worry about it and use whatever spice mixture you like. It’s the bread that really makes the meal unique!
Step 1: Brown the ground beef and drain. (I actually used ground turkey, shhh don’t tell!) Add either 1/2 cup onions to butter and cook until translucent, or use dried onion flakes, about 2 tbsp. Mix with the ground beef.
Step 2: Add all spices you are using, stock or water, and diced tomatoes. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, the longer the better. All the spices blend together and infuse the meat. Your house/apartment will smell divine! This was probably the favorite of all the dishes cooked.
Ingredients (Pork Stew):
4 pork chops (or 1 small roast) diced
1/2 cup stock/water
2 tbsp turmeric
2 tbsp curry powder
1/2 can diced tomatoes
Step 1: Dice the pork, brown in a pan with the stock. Add in the spices and bring to a simmer.
Step 2: Add the diced tomatoes, or 1 small can tomato paste. Simmer another 10 minutes or until ready to serve.
This is what the finished meal looked like:
The ground beef stew is mid-left, pork is on the upper right. Wait until the injera post, where you get to learn how to make Ethiopian “pancakes”…
Up next: Chicken & Fish!