Climate Justice Feast: Ethiopian Stew

If you’re like me and came of cognitive age in the 70s and 80s than the term “Ethiopian Stew” probably sounds like the punchline to a sick joke, as all through that era those poor people suffered through famine after famine (somehow these things actually occurred before George Bush became President; hard to believe, isn’t it?) while their nice socialist leaders imported loads of scotch to celebrate their glorious revolution. So imagine my surprise when I was aimlessly watching some tv while at the gym the other day and they announced that the next guest was going to be Marcus Samuelsson, chef and co-owner of Aquavit in NYC. Now, I have a special place in my heart for this place, as it’s where my bride and I got engaged many moons ago, so I was excited to see what would be cooked. So out walks your typical Swedish chef…

Hello. My name is not Sven.

He has a very…interesting background, but suffice it to say he’s Ethiopian by birth and he proceeded to make what he called a traditional Ethiopian stew. It looked very tasty and featured a spice I’d never heard of: Berbere

So of course I went to my buds at and ordered me some


What a neat spice; a lot of full-flavored warmth but not too much heat. Makes me thirsty…


I picked this up at the Whole Foods for $5. Not a bad wine; nice slightly smokey fruit.

Anyhow, after googling around a bit I came up with Samuelsson’s recipe and with a few modifications (I ixnayed the jalapenos and substituted some kick-ass cinnamon for the cardamom) I decided to give it a try aided by my march of the McCormick Soldiers


mix together:
1 1/2 tbl berbere
1/2 tbl cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp black pepper


here’s the cinnamon I was talking about


it has a very warm aromatic flavor that completely blows away the usual tired-out cinnamon you’re used to (I believe it is in fact a different specie of tree)

That glass on the end is getting rather low…better open something else


Another sub-$10 wine (I think this was $8). Works for me.

So, first thing we need is cow


I cubed up about half of this baby (call it 2 1/2 to 3 lbs or so) and set it aside for a minute


and vac-sealed and froze the rest for later. I took a medium sized yellow onion and chopped it up fairly well in the food processor (as Daughter is developing some what of an aversion to large onion chunks, which are the best my poor chopping skills can manage, I have belatedly discovered the joys of the food processor for mincing up the tasty bits into minuscule sizes that she can’t see; my Bride of course has been using this machine for 20 years. I am slow to catch on) and sauteed away in 4 tbl or so of butter


until turning clear; standard onion stuff. Now add the cow!


cook over medium/high heat and let that oniony buttery joy permeate the bovinosphere


now add the spices and 3 or 4 (hell, 5) cloves of garlic that have been manfully chopped


and say 1/2 cup of red wine (which gives you an excuse, Dear Reader, to open another bottle) and a can of diced tomatoes


and let all that fragranty goodness flagrantly simmer for 15 minutes or so to enthickafy slightly then serve over your starch of choice


I thought I’d be all ethnic and trendy and culturally aware and sensitive-like and serve it over couscous. Big mistake. The couscous sucksucked. It tasted like recycled cardboard. The stew itself was fantastic, so next time it’s going over plain old rice.

(note: this was dinner in early October; it takes me a while to get these posts up)

19 Responses to “Climate Justice Feast: Ethiopian Stew”

  1. major dad says:

    So it was berbere good then? Filet in a stew?

  2. Yojimbo says:

    Geez! Now I’m hungry again and I still haven’t recovered from the hardwood out of the hardwood smoked bacon from the Thanksgiving time extravaganza.

    Thank you for the info on the spice site. No, I really didn’t now about it.
    There are a couple of snippy “little people” who will be duly impressed, if they ever get around to visiting again.

  3. Mr. Bingley says:

    major dad, it was excellent; I really liked the flavor. And filet works fine if you don’t cook it for very long. The meat is tender enough that all you need to do is stir-fry it in the butter and then basically quickly braise it in the sauce.

  4. tree hugging sister says:

    (JESUS, Bingley!!! The man flings a pun for the VERY FIRST TIME EVER…and you ignore it. WTFO?)

  5. Mr. Bingley says:

    Aw criminy; went right over my balding head.

    Next thing you know we’ll get Skyler cracking jokes.

  6. Mr. Bingley says:

    The End Is Nigh.

  7. tree hugging sister says:


  8. nightfly says:

    Give peas a chance, Bings.

  9. major dad says:


  10. Dave E. says:

    Good one, MD. Don’t stew about it though, serve him up another one. Just be sure to put it right over the plate for Mr. B.

  11. tree hugging sister says:

    I think it’s thyme we just table this discussion, Dave. My poor major dad has navy bean so maltreated. In my opunion, Bingley’s literary acuity has gone to pot.

  12. Yojimbo says:

    Sage advice from THS.

  13. Yojimbo says:

    And I’m just shocked at your characterization of the Bingster. Everyday he peppers us with profundities far beyond our measure to respond. I consider him sugar and allspice and everything nice, not some cloven being approachable only with a hearty portion of mace. Maybe he should consider moving to the nutmeg state just to be rid of these attacks upon his person.

  14. Mr. Bingley says:

    Your attempts to curry my favor will, of course, succeed, Yojimbo.

  15. nightfly says:

    Looks like Yojimbo’s getting his just desserts by buttering up the host.

  16. David Gillies says:

    Couscous is markedly improved if you cook it with stock rather than just water. If you’d reserved a tablespoon of the minced onion and added that too it would have been an improvement. And some chiffonaded flat leaf parsley right at the last moment helps.

  17. Mr. Bingley says:

    Sounds like excellent advice, David. It probably would help too if I wasn’t such a cheap bastard and bought a more high-falutin’ brand at the store.

  18. Michael Lonie says:

    You’re a “cheap bastard” and you buy sevral pounds of filet and put three of them into STEW? Crikey, and I thought I was extravagant buying sirloin steak.

  19. Mr. Bingley says:

    Hehehe, well, it was cheap tenderloin, Michael!

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