Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Navy Blue Kitchen is Back!

Welcome to the summer edition of Navy Blue Kitchen! I apologize for having dropped off the face of the blogging earth for the past few months, but my second semester of law school was a lot busier than the first! I barely had time to feed myself not to mention time to blog about it. And I am sad to admit that most of my meals were not particularly blog-worthy (I rely on cereal way too much). But, I am back for at least the summer and maybe beyond! Although I’ve heard 2L year can be a little busy too…so no guarantees.

For my first return post I figured I had to do something big, so I am chronicling my attempts to make an Ethiopian feast. While I was home visiting my family, my mom hosted a dinner for her book club. They were meeting to discuss Cutting for Stone, a book that takes place in Addis Abba and prominently features amazing descriptions of doro wat and injera. I have been craving Ethiopian food ever since I left the abundance of Ethiopian restaurants in D.C. so my mom and I decided to go for it.

Since most grocery stores do not carry the requisite ingredients for an authentic Ethiopian meal, we called an Ethiopian restaurant in Madrona (Seattle) to ask where they bought groceries. The very helpful woman I spoke with told me that all of the Ethiopian restaurants in Seattle shop at Amy’s Merkato on Cherry Street. Nothing in Amy’s Merkato is labeled but after I told the man working there what I was attempting to make, he quickly gathered all of the supplies I needed. Most importantly, he gave us berbere (a spice blend that is the foundation of many dishes) and nitir kibe (spiced butter). We also bought injera from him because I did not anticipate success in making the spongy bread myself. It requires something similar to a sourdough starter as well as a special oven and I’m sure that any of my attempts would not have even come close to being edible.

We served all of the dishes on the injera (resting on a pizza platter) and ate the meal with our hands. My mom’s book club let me join them even though I was only about half-way through the book at the point. The meal did not taste exactly like those that I have enjoyed at Meskerem and Queen of Sheba (note that you can see my old student Zeima featured on this website), but I was happy with the overall outcome. More importantly, once we gathered the ingredients, the meal came together very easily and I would recommend that anyone else attempt it. I also highly recommend Cutting for Stone!


Doro WatI based my recipe off the suggestions of the man from Amy’s Merkato and from the recipe featured in the Washington Post

1 cup nitir kibe (spiced butter)
8 cups yellow onions, chopped
5 teaspoons garlic, minced
1 cup berbere (you can adjust this amount based on how spicy you want it to be)
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
6 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs
6 bone-in, skinless chicken legs
6-8 cups of water or chicken stock
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled (I don’t like hard-boiled eggs so I skipped this)

Melt the spiced butter over medium heat in a large pot, add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they become translucent, about ten minutes. Add garlic and a sprinkle of salt, continue to cook for an additional five minutes. Add the berbere spice mixture and stir once to coat before adding the tomato paste. Add about 1 cup of water or stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about a half hour.

Add the pieces of chicken to the pan and add just enough water or stock to come about half-way up the pot. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. The longer the mixture simmers, the more delicious it will be. I simmered mine for about 4 hours. The flavors are also improved if you make it a day in advance. Remove the bones from the pan before serving (the meat should have fallen off by this point). Stir in cardamom and eggs and serve over injera.

Gomen (Collard Greens)¼ cup nitir kibe (spiced butter)
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs collard greens, stemmed and cut crosswise into ¼ inch pieces.
Juice of 1 lemon

Melt the spiced butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to caramelize, about 20-30 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Rinse the collard greens and add to pan with about a cup of water. Cover the pan, reduce the heat, and let the collards braise until softened, about 45 minutes. Stir the pan from time to time and add more water as needed. Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve.

Misr Wot (Lentil Stew)1 cup red lentils
¼ cup nitir kibe (spiced butter)
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons berbere
2 small roma tomatoes, cored and chopped
Kosher salt, to taste

Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the lentils, 1 tablespoon of berbere, tomato, and 4 cups of water to the saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and the lentils are tender, 45-50 minutes. Stir in the remaining berbere and season generously with salt.
Alecha Wot (Cabbage and Potatoes)¼ cup nitir kibe (spiced butter)
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground tumeric
½ head cabbage, cut into ½ inch pieces
4 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
Kosher salt, to taste

Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the spices and stir to coat. Add the cabbage, potatoes, and about a cup of stock. Cover and simmer over low heat until potatoes are soft, about 25 minutes. Season with salt and serve.

Ethiopian Salad
½ jalapeno, thinly sliced
½ cup red onion
3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
Kosher salt, to taste
Mix ingredients together in a bowl. This is best made the day before so flavors have time to mingle.

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