Ethiopian Chicken and Onion Stew

"This is a spicy chicken stew with a red onion and butter sauce that’s garnished with hard cooked eggs. Original recipes uses 2 cups butter but this recipe is reduced to 1 cup, and it still results in a very creamy, soft, complex sauce. While berbere, the traditional Ethiopian spice mixture is used in this dish, in this recipe it is simulated with a variety of spices."
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Ready In:




  • Place split chicken breasts in a large bowl; add lime and water. Let stand while you prepare sauce.
  • Combine allspice, ginger, pepper and garlic in a mortar and mash to a paste with a pestle or grind in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add cayenne, cardamom and cloves and mix again set aside.
  • Heat a large, deep sauté pan or casserole over medium heat. Without using any fat, add onions and stir constantly until some moisture has been released. Cook, stirring often, until onions are soft and somewhat golden, 30 to 40 minutes. If the skillet gets too dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons butter. This process is slow, but eventually, onions will take on a golden color.
  • Add remaining butter and spice paste and stir constantly until butter melts. Keep stirring over medium heat to release flavor of seasonings, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup chicken stock and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Remove chicken pieces from water, shake them dry, and push them into onion mixture. Cover and cook over medium low heat for 7 minutes. Remove cover, stir in another 1/2 cup chicken stock and cook, uncovered, until chicken is tender, about 35 minutes. Add more stock if sauce gets too dry. (It should be creamy-saucy, not thin and runny.).
  • Sprinkle sauce with salt and more pepper to taste. Carefully stir in eggs, without breaking them up too much or tearing chicken off bone. Carefully spoon chicken, sauce and some egg onto heated plates. Serves 6. Good wine to serve is Cline Cellars Cotes d’Oakly (California: Contre Costa).
  • Onions, Onions, Onions.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Tasted authentic - just like what we ate at an Ethiopian restaurant. I chopped the onion and it took less than 20 minutes for them to cook. Overall, the meal took less time than the recipe called for. I cut the chicken into small cubes to assist in eating it with Injera and to shorten cook time. I will make again!
  2. We really liked the taste of this (the sweetness of the onions mixed with the spices), however, I found it took too long to make. In essence: the result doesn't quite justify the effort involved.
  3. super fantastic! my guests loVed it! the only change I made was shredding the chicken. I can't wait to eat this dish again...!
  4. The cooking time can be sped up a little bit. Slice the onions very thin to assist with carmalizing. But be careful at the end! The butter will separate if cooked too fast!



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