Ethiopian-Inspired Spicy Chicken Stew

By • January 2, 2014 • 33 Comments

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Author Notes: One of my favorite things about living in Los Angeles is discovering new flavors. The first time I tried Ethiopian food, I had doro wat, which is a spicy chicken stew. Doro wat has some kick to it, and there are many different spices that contribute to the deep flavor of this stew, which makes it one of my favorite comfort foods. This is a modified version of doro wat that I scrapped together based on the variations of doro wat that I have had at restaurants and some help from Saveur's recipe: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Spicy-Chicken-Stew Abbie C

Food52 Review: WHO: Abbie C is a dinner party-loving biologist.
WHAT: A one-pot chicken dinner different than all the others.
HOW: Make a spice mix, then brown, simmer, and braise -- in that order.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We love us a one-pot braised chicken dish, but they're easy to tire of. This one -- with its range of thrumming spices and its hard-boiled eggs, is a breath of fresh air for your weeknight meals. We're making it tonight.
A&M

Serves 4

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 medium yellow onion, grated
  • 2 teaspoons high heat oil (I used grapesseed)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 28 ounces can of whole peeled tomatoes with juices
  • 1 splash dry red wine
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 whole chicken legs with skin (2 legs, 2 thighs)
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs
  • Salt to taste
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the spices.
  2. Cut the chicken legs into four pieces (i.e. 2 legs, 2 thighs), and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a frying pan with deep sides and brown the chicken on all sides over medium-high until golden. Take the chicken out of the pan and lower heat to medium-low and add the butter, onions, and grated ginger. Cook the onions and ginger for about 5 minutes, but don’t let them brown (a little golden is okay). Add the dry spice mixture and cook for another minute or two.
  3. Add the tomatoes and their juices and break them up using a spoon. Add the garlic and a splash of red wine and stir to incorporate.
  4. Add the chicken back to the pan and simmer over low to medium low for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the sauce is fairly thick. Add salt to taste.
  5. About 5 minutes before you plan to serve, peel the eggs and add to the stew to heat them through. Doro wat is usually served with injera, which is a spongy Ethiopian flatbread that tastes similar to sourdough bread. This stew is also good with brown rice or even roasted cauliflower (as shown in the photo). I'm not sure I'd recommend serving it with Brussels sprouts (also see photo), which I only did to use up some vegetable odds and ends. I would, however, recommend some collard greens if you'd like something green to go along with it.
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5 months ago stephanieRD

Making this right now in my slow cooker! I feel like being a little lazy today and my chicken is straight from the freezer and would be hard to brown at this point. ;) Hope it turns out ok!

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5 months ago Abbie C

I've made this in my slow cooker a few times too! I usually brown the chicken and prep the onions and spices in a skillet then throw it all into the crock pot for 4 hours or more on low. I've also just chucked the chicken in frozen and it turns out fine (just add a little extra cooking time)! I hope it worked well for you :)

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6 months ago BellaRasa

I made this last night and it was delicious. I doubled the recipe since I have a feeling that the leftovers may be even better. Thanks for the great recipe Abbie!

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5 months ago Abbie C

I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

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7 months ago Silly Apron

Congratulations Abbie! Can't wait to try this!

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6 months ago Abbie C

Thank you! I hope you enjoy!

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7 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

We were actually a bit disappointed by this. It seemed much too sweet. That may have been due to the Pomi tomatoes, which tend to run sweet, or the sweet nature of the spices and the fact that I did not add any cayenne. The juice of two medium limes helped a bit. It's a nice spice mixture, though, which I will surely use again. (I made up a quadruple batch, as the amounts called for were so small, given that I was grinding most of them fresh.) This can best be described as an above-average chicken curry with hard boiled eggs in it. ;o)

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7 months ago Abbie C

Thank you for giving it a shot! Bummer it wasn't what you were hoping for. I have only made it with standard organic crushed tomatoes, which I find are usually more on the acidic side. The wine or the onion may also be the culprit if either was toward the sweeter side. I'm glad you liked the spice mixture :)

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7 months ago divasparkle

Congratulations! I love that this dish has hard boiled eggs in it - takes me back to when I lived in Nairobi where I had an aunt who would always garnish her dishes with halved boiled eggs!

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7 months ago Abbie C

Thank you! It must have been a great experience to live in Nairobi!

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7 months ago student epicure

made this tonight! very tasty!

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7 months ago Abbie C

So glad you enjoyed it!

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7 months ago Aliwaks

This looks SUPER delicious!!! I am putting this on the menu for next week,gotta know what I'm up against, ;0..Congrats!!!

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7 months ago Abbie C

Thank you and congratulations to you too! I am excited to try yours as well so I can gobble up all that stuffing...I mean check out the competition... :)

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7 months ago Abbie C

Thank you all so much for your kind words! I am beyond excited!

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7 months ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

looks wonderful! I will for sure try it soon

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7 months ago savorthis

Looks delicious! A friend served a dish like this with the eggs and sausage with a sweet, but more traditional tomato sauce and I loved it. Glad to see a spiced up version...might inspire me to finally make injera!

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7 months ago Lynn Westlund

I'm making this! Only down-side is there will be no hard boiled egg in it- just turns me off.

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7 months ago Abbie C

My boyfriend isn't too keen on the eggs either, so you're not alone :)

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7 months ago Mike Swanger

I'm going to have to try this recipe. Rather than use all of the dry spices shown in the recipe, I am going to use the Berbere seasoning that is regularly used in Ethiopian cooking and contains most, if not all, of the dry spices shown.

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7 months ago Cathy Gordon

Oh I got a free sample Berbere from Pensey's. Maybe about 2 1/2 teaspoons?

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7 months ago Abbie C

That should work! I just had the individual components for Berbere handy and wanted to play with proportions. Let me know how it works!

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6 months ago librarianfoodie

I tried it with the Penzey's Berbere this weekend and it was delicious. I used about 2.5 teaspoons and I felt it was a good level of spicy. I would definitely make it again!

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6 months ago Abbie C

I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I'm glad somebody tried it with Berbere seasoning since it's more convenient if you don't already have all the individual spices.

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7 months ago Loves Food Loves to Eat

Congrats on the finalist pick, I can't wait to make this. I took an Ethiopian cooking class a few years ago, and we made doro wat. My favorite thing about it/ most unexpected were the hardboiled eggs... in the class, they had us cut length-wise slits around the egg (not all the way through, so it stays whole, but the juices can get in there more).

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7 months ago Abbie C

I'm a sucker for the eggs too! Sounds like a fun class!

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7 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Whoa, this looks great! So happy to see the individual spices spelled out. I plan to grind up this blend to send, with the recipe, to my son who adores Ethopian cuisine. (He's living in L.A., by the way!) Of course, he should be grinding his own spices for dishes like this, so I now have the perfect excuse to include in my next "care package" whatever whole spices he doesn't already have, and a grinder. ;o)

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7 months ago Loves Food Loves to Eat

Love this gift package idea!

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7 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

He's a lucky young man. He's learning how to cook for himself (well, putting into practice what he's picked up from me) late at night on weekdays, after putting in 13-14 hour days at the office. I send him home ground spice blends of the type that I use, various other spices, herbs, condiments and other fun ingredients he may not have time to go shopping for on the weekends, as well as homemade Nekisia Davis' Genius granola. And of course, I often forward recipes and articles from Food52 with my own advice and suggestions. Honestly, I should be keeping all these notes in one place. A compendium of the advice/teaching/suggestions I've sent to my two sons over the past few years would make a useful resource for others. ;o)

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7 months ago Abbie C

Super cute idea to send the spices! I wonder if your son and I have dined at some of the same places!

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7 months ago Midge

Sounds exotic and amazing. Congrats Abbie!

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7 months ago ZombieCupcake

Congrats I honestly tried this recipe, doubled it actually turned out wonderful.

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7 months ago Abbie C

So glad you liked it!