In part two of a one part series I never expected to write I thought I’d share another recipe I cooked over the weekend to take advantage of the last of the goat in FXB’s. This time it’s from Ethiopia and if my research hasn’t steered me wrong I think I’ve got the name correct; I definitely know the second part is right as there are a bunch of Ethiopian stews featuring chicken, lamb, beef and lentils and they are all called wats. As you’ll notice if you follow any of those links, there are two ingredients that appear in nearly every one and are integral to Ethiopian cuisine: berbere and nitter kebbeh.
Berbere is a fiery mix of chilli and a variety of other spices (the proportions can be quite variable depending on both the cook and the region): the blend I made comes from an article in Saveur magazine and is very simple to make although I could only find the dried onion flakes they specify in 1kg jars (in the Asian market on Jervis Street) so I made some myself by chopping up a few shallots and dehydrating them in the oven at 50°C overnight. A problem with doing my own drying was that it didn’t remove all the moisture and this caused my spice grinder to keep clogging but if you are using a mortar and pestle it won’t be an issue.
Nitter kebbeh is a spiced clarified butter similar to Indian ghee and the recipe I’ve used here comes from Hank Shaw’s excellent Honest Food blog (really worth a look, I mean look at this for an amazing plate of food). You have to be very careful during the clarification process because if you let it get too hot and burn the milk solids you’ll have to start again; I was perhaps a bit too conservative and probably only simmered it for around fifteen minutes instead of the recommended half an hour so next time I’ll try and hold my nerve a bit better.
One interesting facet of this dish is the sauce is thickened by the disintegration of the onions, hence the large amount at the outset. The hard boiled eggs at the end seemed like an unusual addition addition to me and I very nearly left them out but they really work and I’m glad I didn’t omit them. Traditionally, the stew is served with a flatbread called injera and there a lots of recipes online for it but I didn’t have time to make my own so I had to make do with a horribly inauthentic naan bread bought in the supermarket. Also, a word of warning about the berbere is that it is very hot so if you don’t like your food spicy you might want to reduce the amount.
- Heat a pan on a high heat and when very hot, melt half the niter kebbeh.
- Season the meat and then sear until brown all over, turning occasionally and ensuring any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan don’t burn (you may have to reduce the heat around half way through for this).
- When browned remove the meat and put to one side.
- Lower the heat and add the rest of the butter to the pan and then sauté the onions for around half an hour until golden brown.
- Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with the stock scrapping up the fond and return the meat to the pan.
- Simmer for 2-3 hours until the goat is fork tender and the sauce has thickened.
- Adjust the seasoning and add the eggs, cooking for a few minutes to heat through.
- Stir through the lemon juice and then serve on a large piece of flatbread per person.