What's For Dinner: Slow Cooker Ethiopian-spiced Chicken Stew

Slow Cooker Ethiopian-spiced Chicken Stew || A Less Processed Life

After reading world-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson's fascinating memoir "Yes, Chef," I was so inspired by his book that the next time I found myself in a spice store, I picked up a bottle of berbere spice blend. Common to North African cuisine (Samuelsson was born in Ethiopia but raised in Sweden by adoptive parents), the berbere spice blend typically includes peppers, garlic, ginger, fenugreek, cardamom, cumin, black pepper, allspice, turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, and coriander.

Slow Cooker Ethiopian-spiced Chicken Stew || A Less Processed Life

The heat in berbere is no joke. While purchasing the spice bottle, the cashier warned me to not use too much of it at once. For this recipe, I used just one tablespoon, and it provided plenty of slow burning heat. If you like your food super-spicy (or you just want to clear out your sinuses, ifyouknowwhatImean), start with one tablespoon and increase from there.

Slow Cooker Ethiopian-spiced Chicken Stew || A Less Processed Life

This Ethiopian-spiced chicken stew is perfect after a long day outside in the cold; I just love slow cooker meals that allow me to set it and forget it until I come back inside and smell the delicious aroma of a ready-to-eat meal.

The only thing this stew is missing is a pile of injera flatbread on the side. Injera is a spongy, vinegary bread that is used as a utensil to scoop up and eat the stew. If you live near an Ethiopian restaurant (and, yes, I'm jealous of you), I'd recommend picking some up to eat with this meal. Alas, looks like I'm going to need to find some teff flour and make my own. Another blog post, perhaps? :)

Slow Cooker Ethiopian-spiced Chicken Stew (printer-friendly version)
makes 4 servings

3/4 cups red lentils
1 - 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped red onions (1 medium onion)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon berbere spice blend
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 14-ounce can low-sodium diced tomatoes
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1. Place the lentils in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse in cold water. Drain and then place in an even layer in the bottom of a 4 or 6 quart slow cooker bowl. Set the chicken on top of the lentils.
2. Heat the butter and oil together in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted, add the onions and sauté until softened and translucent, 4-6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the berbere spice blend and cook until fragrant, 2-3 minutes more. Stir in the wine and diced tomatoes (with their juice).
3. Carefully spoon the onion mixture over top the chicken layer in the slow cooker. Pour the vegetable broth on top. Cover and cook until the chicken is easily-shredded with a fork; 4-5 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low. Stir the stew to combine before serving.

(adapted from this Eating Well recipe)

Slow Cooker Ethiopian-spiced Chicken Stew || A Less Processed Life

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