Recipe Source: Mesfin, D. J. Exotic Ethiopian Cooking. Ethiopian Cookbook Enterprises of Falls Church, Virginia, Falls Church, 2004 p. 148.
I had the opportunity to cook for one friend recently. It was a very different animal than my usual sort of entertainment. Ordinarily I have a large number of dishes on the table, because "someone may not like x," or "we might have someone who is allergic to y and they have to eat too." This time I knew what everyone at the table could eat and what their preferences were too. I had to restrain myself several times from adding dishes "just in case." This was the main course that I served, and of course I made a few changes. I used chicken thighs instead of a whole chicken, because I did not have time to skin and de-bone a whole chicken. I didn't have red onions so I used regular yellow onions. Instead of spiced butter I used regular butter and "spiced" it myself with a mix of chili powder (not much, it was supposed to be mild) and cumin. I increased some of the other spices used, just because I liked them.
The results were funny. I made it early in the day so I could enjoy my friend's company when she got there. When I first tasted the stew I thought, "Really? This is really kind of... well, uninspired." I let it sit. By the time dinner came around I found I really enjoyed this stew. There was enough for leftovers. Since our guest was traveling the next week she let us keep the leftovers. I ran some errands the next day and I don't mind telling you that I was getting defensive of them. When I got home for lunch I was thinking, "Oh, that husband of mine - he'd better not have eaten my chicken stew!" He hadn't, and it was phenomenal. So I would definitely advise you to make this the day before you intend to serve it and reheat it the next day, or at the very least to make it a few hours ahead of time and let the flavors marry.
Mild Chicken Stew (serves 6; approx. $3.04/serving)
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in to small pieces
4 onions, chopped
2 cups water
1 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
8 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ginger salt
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon groudn cardamom
1/2 cup white wine
- Large saute pan
- Melt the butter with the first 1/2 teaspoon chili powder and the cumin in the sauce pan.
- Add the onions. Saute until softened. Don't let them burn.
- Add the chicken and brown, still being careful not to let the onions burn.
- Add the water, garlic and ginger salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes.
- Add the remaining spices and the white wine. Cook until the stew is thickened.