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The Hirshon Ethiopian Stewed Chicken – ዶሮ ወጥ


Ingredients

Scale
  • 6 chicken thighs or drumsticks with all the skin and fat removed
  • Lemon juice
  • to 3 pounds of onions, very finely chopped or puréed
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons berbere, to taste (use 2 if you like it spicy!)
  • 1 tablespoon powdered ginger
  • chicken stock, low-sodium
  • 5 tablespoons niter kibbe
  • ¼ to ½ cup t’ej (Ethiopian honey wine) or red wine
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, pierced all over with fork about ¼ inch deep
  • 1 teaspoon wot mekelesha or to taste – equal parts of black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, nutmeg and long pepper (adjust to your taste or just use a cardamom/clove mix if you prefer)

Instructions

  1. Begin by marinating the skinless chicken pieces – six thighs (which I prefer) or drumsticks – in lemon juice, and let them marinate while you prepare the onions. I also shorten the bone of the drumsticks somewhat, both to make more room in the pot, and because that part of the drumstick isn’t necessary anyway. You can cut off the lower bony portion with a good sharp knife.
  2. Then, chop the onions finely. Ethiopians do this with a knife, but I cheat and use a food processor.
  3. In a large pot, begin to cook the onions without adding any niter kibbe (Ethiopian spiced butter). Stir them constantly to keep them from burning. When they begin to get a bit dry, add a little chicken stock (highly-preferred) or water to moisten them.
  4. When the onions begin to brown, add the garlic and some niter kibbe, then a little more stock or water, then a little more kibbe. Keep doing this until you’ve added all of the kibbe. You should cook them for about 30 minutes in this fashion.
  5. When that’s all cooking nicely, add some t’ej – about a quarter to a half of a cup, again depending upon how sweet you want it to be. I’d error on the side of caution and use less because the flavor of the t’ej really comes through in the finished dish.
  6. Now it’s time to add the spices: berbere, one or two tablespoons, depending upon how hot you want it to be, along with the powdered ginger.
  7. After you add the spices, you’ll need to add more water or stock to keep it from burning and to increase the volume into a saucy stew. Let these spices cook in the water or stock and onion for 10 minutes, adding more water or stock if it begins to cook down.
  8. Next, it’s time to add the doro (chicken). Place the pieces into the bubbling stew, add enough water or stock to cover them, and let it all simmer. You should stir and turn the pieces from time to time to keep them from burning and to help them cook evenly. If the water or stock begins to disappear too quickly, just add more.
  9. Test the chicken with a fork now and then to see if it’s tender and cooked through. You’ll need to cook the chicken for at least 45 minutes to an hour to get it very tender. Keep adding stock or water if it cooks down, and when the chicken is very tender, let enough of the water cook off until you have the chicken in the thick sauce.
  10. About 10 minutes before it’s done, you can add some wot mekelesha if you have some or want to mix some yourself. This is a spice blend that adds extra flavor and effervescence to a wot.
  11. Finally, also toss in the eggs about 10 minutes before it’s done – this is a traditional element of doro wot. When your doro wot is done, serve it on injera with the vegetable side dishes of your choice. Be sure to scoop a lot of the mixture (kulet in Amharic) onto the chicken and injera: It will be rich, spicy and delicious, practically a meal in itself.
  12. In some homes, it’s the custom for each person to have his own piece of doro wot in front of him on the large round shared plate at the center of the table, and then everyone eats the accompanying vegetable dishes communally. This makes a lot of sense: It’s a bit of challenge pulling the meat from the bone with your injera, and you certainly don’t want to pick the bone up and just chomp the meat off of it.
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