I was hesitant to even try the food my girlfriends brought - but once I tasted each dish, I kept eating, and went back for more! Each one shared the recipes with the group, and tonight I made two of them. The main dish was Linda's Doro Wat - a spicy chicken stew. It's a very simple recipe - chicken, onion, and spices. In Ethiopia, it's served on injera, a flatbread made from teff - a flour unavailable here. At book club, Debbie brought some Indian flatbread called Malabari Paratha. It's from the frozen food section at Trader Joe's. You could also use pita bread or some other flatbread, I suppose. But I really like the paratha, and since we have a Trader Joe's fairly close, I bought two packages. There are five in a package - two for Don, two for me, and one for my leftovers that I'll take to work tomorrow.
The side dish was a room-temperature green bean dish, recipe from Betty. It's actually from South Africa, but I bet something similar is made in Ethiopia.
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 large sweet yellow onion, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup water
Sprinkle the cut-up chicken with the lemon juice, and let sit while you cook the onion. In a 4 to 6-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, brown the onion without fat until quite dark, stirring often. Add the butter and spices and stir to blend. Add the water and the chicken, stirring to combine everything. Cover the pot and simmer over low heat about 20 minutes until chicken is tender. Add more water, if necessary, to bring the mixture to stew texture. If the dish is watery, then thicken with 2 tablespoons of flour dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water. Serve with flatbread or pita bread. I use Malabari Paratha, which you can get in the frozen foods section at Trader Joe's. This served two with a little for a leftover meal.
Note: Browning the onion without fat is important - the caramelization of the onions adds both color and a bit of sweetness.
African Green Beans
1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
1/2 t salt
2 T olive oil
1 T lemon juice
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 garlic clove, mashed
1/4 c sweet white onion, thinly sliced
2 T sliced green olives
1/2 T hot red pepper flakes
Cut the ends off the beans, and cook in a large pot of boiling water along with the 1/2 t salt for 10 minutes. Drain and cover with cold water for about 5 minutes. Drain again. Combine oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Add the onions, green olives and beans and toss until well coated. Eat either room temperature or chilled. 4 Servings.