“This tastes just like it came from an Ethiopian restaurant, except it isn’t as oily.”
This past weekend my best friend and her husband came up from Calgary for a visit. Since they would be arriving after lunch on Saturday, I had the morning to prepare a couple of dishes for dinner that evening. That way I would avoid spending precious time cooking and enjoy the afternoon and evening visiting with our guests. I had not seen them since I visited Calgary in October. Their November trip to Edmonton got canceled due to a snow storm.
Ah, the joys of a Canadian winter.
After being introduced to Marcus Samuelsson’s Soul of a New Cuisine on the popular blog Gluten Free Girl and the Chef, I had promised our friends that I would prepare some of the great Ethiopian recipes from Samulesson’s book. My husband and I were excited for the meal ourselves, as I had prepared both dishes a couple of times; my husband dreamed of the Chunky Mashed Vegetables, while I languished in memories of the Lentil Stew’s tangy bite.
I always like to take the easy road with cooking, if I can. Fortunately there is a great Ethiopian shop in my neighborhood where I am able to pick up berberé powder and fresh injera. Without having to worry about making my own spice blend or finding a pan large enough to cook injera, both these recipes come together with minimal effort.
Minimal effort and maximum taste. Isn’t that what every cook wants to hear?
The nice thing about both of these stew-like dishes is that they can be prepared in advance and reheated before serving. Both dishes taste great reheated. My husband and I can attest to this as we greedily finished off the leftovers last night for dinner.
1 cup red lentils, rinsed well and drained
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium red onion, minced
2 garlic gloves, minced
3 tomatoes roughly chopped, or one 15 oz can diced tomatoes (I use canned)
½ cup of canned fava beans
Juice of 2 lemons
2-4 teaspoon berberé (I use about 4 teaspoons – the amount depends on the berberé used)
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
½ teaspoon salt
- Combine lentils with 3 cups of water in a large sauce pan. Bring lentils to a boil in 3 cups of water, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until tender.
- Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 5 mins.
- Stir in the tomatoes, lentils, fava beans, lemon juice, berberé, parsley, and salt and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the flavours have blended. The stew thickens up as it cooks
Chunky Mashed Vegetables
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2 yams, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 – ½ cup peanut oil (I use all the oil here)
1 pound of cut frozen green beans (not french cut)
4 tablespoons butter
One 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch dice
1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
2 jalapeño chilies, seeded and finely chopped
1 ½ cups water
1 tablespoon berberé
1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350°C.
- Toss the garlic and yams with peanut oil in a roasting pan. Roast for 25 -35 minutes, or until fork tender.
- When the yams are done, transfer them to a large bowl and mash them with a potato masher to a chunky consistency.
- Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the ginger, carrots, onion, and jalapeño and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 1o minutes.
- Stir in the water and bring to a simmer, add the frozen green beans, then reduce the heat and simmer gently until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the berberé and mashed yam and cook, stirring, until heated through. Stir in the salt.