Saturday, June 1, 2013

Yebeg Wat (Spiced Lamb Stew)

The first time I ever tried Ethiopian cuisine was at a restaurant called The Blue Nile in Berkeley, CA. That was way back in the late '80s when I did a one year stint at UCB. It was on Telegraph Avenue between Blake St. and Dwight Way, not a far jaunt from the campus. If memory serves me correctly, we had spiced lamb, goat (my first taste of goat), and an assortment of other deliciously spiced dishes, which were served on a communal platter, along with a side of spongy, crepe-like Injera bread. And that's what you use to pick up your food, cuz there are no utensils to speak of. I looked up The Blue Nile on Yelp and found out that, sadly, it closed its doors some years ago (ca 2005?). 

I adapted this recipe from one by Hiyaw Gebreyohannes, who was featured in the November 2012 issue of Food and Wine Magazine.

3-4 lbs. boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1" cubes (if you don't like lamb, you can substitute with ribeye or sirloin beef steak)
Salt & pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot, chopped
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. Berbere seasoning
2 tbsp. red wine
2 medium plum tomatoes, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1. Season the lamb or beef with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large pot or saute pan. Add the lamb in batches and cook over medium-high heat until browned. Remove the lamb to a plate or bowl when browned and repeat with the remaining lamb until done.

2. Add chopped onions, garlic, shallot, Dijon mustard, Berbere seasoning, red wine, plum tomatoes, bell pepper, and lemon juice to the pan and season with salt & pepper. Saute and stir occasionally for several minutes until softened. Add the lamb and any juices that have accumulated. Cook for another 10-20 minutes or until meat is tender. 

3. This dish can be made the day before and reheated just before serving. Serve with Injera bread. If no Injera bread, then steamed basmati rice is a good accompaniment. 

Spiced lamb stew with spicy red lentil stew and sauteed carrots and cabbage with turmeric.

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