Ethiopian Chicken Stew (Doro Wat)

Although I typically prefer vegetarian Ethiopian dishes, I felt compelled to try this chicken dish after seeing it on Milk Street. This chicken and red onion stew, Doro Wat, is the national dish of Ethiopia. I made Ethiopian Stewed Collard Greens, Gomen Wat, with my CSA collards as an accompaniment.

The recipe was adapted from a home cook, Tigist Chane in Addis Ababa, via 177MilkStreet.com, contributed by Courtney Hill. Ghee is substituted for Ethiopian fermented butter.

Instead of injera, Ethiopian flatbread, I served the stew over brown Basmati rice with warm naan on the side. The original recipe notes that it is important to make your own spice blend, berbere, to control the amount of heat in the finished dish. We omitted the optional hard-cooked egg garnish.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

For the Berbere Spice Blend:

  • 2 T smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 T sweet paprika
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil, ground or crushed into a powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

For the Chicken Stew:

  • 5 T ghee, divided
  • 3 large red onions (about 2 pounds), finely chopped in a food processor
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • about 5 T Berbere spice blend (see above) (I used the entirety of the spice blend)
  • 12 medium to large garlic cloves, minced in a food processor
  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and halved
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • 1 jalapeño or Fresno chili, stemmed, seeded (if desired), and finely chopped, optional
  • 2-3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and sliced, optional (I omitted the eggs)
  • lemon wedges, to serve, optional
  • brown Basmati rice, for serving, optional
  • Injera or naan, for serving, optional
  1. In a large Dutch oven over medium-­high, heat 2 tablespoons of the ghee until shimmering. (I used a large, wide and shallow enameled cast iron pot.)
  2. Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, then cook, stirring occasionally and reducing the heat if the onions begin to brown before they soften, until lightly browned and completely softened, 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons ghee, the berbere spice blend and 3/4 cup water.
  4. Stir in the garlic, followed by the chicken.
  5. Reduce to medium-low, cover and cook at a simmer, stirring occasionally, until a skewer inserted into the chicken meets no resistance, about 30 minutes.
  6. Uncover, increase to medium-­high and cook, stirring and scraping along the bottom of the pot, until the stew is thickened and a wooden spoon leaves a brief trail when drawn through the sauce, 5 to 10 minutes.
  7. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve topped with the scallions, chilies (if using) and sliced eggs (if using); serve with lemon wedges on the side, as desired. (I served it over brown rice with warm naan on the side.)

Ethiopian Chickpea Stew (Shiro Wat) & Stewed Collard Greens (Gomen Wat)

My sister introduced me to Ethiopian food many moons ago. Ever since, we have really enjoyed eating at Ethiopian restaurants but I have never prepared any dishes at home. After receiving collard greens and parsley in my CSA share, this seemed like a fitting menu to try. It could be served any time of year. For us, it was a perfect meal to serve on a rainy and cool June evening.

I loved the brightness that the grated ginger, lemon, and chopped fresh chile added to the tender, stewed collard greens after cooking. The chickpea stew recipe utilizes the genius technique of incorporating ground red lentils to thicken the base.

The recipes were adapted from 177milkstreet.com. I changed the proportions and decreased the heat intensity. I served it over rice with dollops of whole milk Greek yogurt to offset the spice. I also omitted the fresh chile garnish in the chickpea stew. In a restaurant, these dishes would be served with injera, Ethiopian flatbread.

Yield: Serves 4

For the Stewed Collard Greens (Gomen Wat):

  • 1 1/2 T ghee
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 T minced fresh ginger, divided
  • scant 1/2 tsp freshly ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 pound stemmed collard greens, cut into 1/2-inch ribbons and roughly chopped
  • 3/4 to 1 cup chicken, vegetable or beef stock, divided
  • 1/2 to 1 Fresno or serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the Berbere Spice Blend: (you will have a little extra)

  • 1 T smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 1 /2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • scant 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • heaping 1/4 tsp freshly ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil, ground or crushed into a powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground cumin

For the Chickpea Stew (Shiro Wat):

  • 2 T red lentils
  • 3 T ghee
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups (1 pint) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 8 to 10 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 T minced or grated fresh ginger
  • 2 T Berbere Spice Blend (above)
  • 2 15.5-oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño or Fresno chile, stemmed and chopped, optional (I omitted it)
  • cooked rice, for serving, optional (I served both dishes over white Basmati rice)
  • whole milk Greek yogurt, for serving, optional
  • injera (flatbread), for serving, optional

To Make the Stewed Collard Greens:

  1. In a large pot over medium, melt the ghee. (I used an enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
  2. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes. 
  3. Stir in the garlic, 1 tablespoon of grated ginger, the cardamom and turmeric. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 1 minute.
  4. Add about half of the collards and cook, stirring, until slightly wilted, then add the remaining collards.
  5. Stir the stock and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the collards are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. (I cooked it for 30 minutes.)
  6. Off heat, stir in the chopped chile, lemon juice and remaining 1/2 tablespoon ginger.
  7. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a serving dish.

To Make the Spice Blend:

  1. In a small bowl or jar, stir or shake together all ingredients until combined. The berbere will keep in an airtight container in a cool, dry spot for up to 2 months. (I used a recycled glass spice jar.)

To Make the Chickpea Stew:

  1. In a spice grinder, pulse the lentils until finely ground, about 10 pulses; set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium, melt the ghee. (I used a low and wide enameled cast iron pot.)
  3. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, ginger and berbere. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have given up their liquid and the mixture is beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Add the chickpeas, ground lentils, 2 cups water and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Boil over medium-high, then reduce to medium and cook at a simmer, uncovered and stirring often, until the sauce clings to the chickpeas and the desired thickness and consistency is achieved, about 15 to 20 minutes. (If serving over rice, cook the rice at this time.)
  6. Off heat, stir in the parsley and chili (if using).
  7. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve the stewed collard greens and chickpea stew with injera or over rice topped with a dollop of yogurt, as desired.

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