E is for… Ethiopia or Chicken Overboard


Ethiopian flag

On Monday, in preperation for my culinary journey to Ethiopia I visited  my butcher who told me had exactly 5 bone in skin on chicken thighs left. They weighed 1 3/4 pounds, but I figured that after cooking I would discard the skin and bones and probably end up with about 1.5 pounds, my desired amount, anyway so I took them all.

Last night I made my Dor W’at, Ethipoian chicken stew. I added the onions, butter, and spices just as the recipe I’d cobbled together instructed. When it came time to add the chicken, I unwrapped the butcher paper held it over the pot and plopped them in (with a minimum of splash) because space is at a premium in my kitchen and that is the easiest way to get things out of the way quickly. When I looked in the pot I noticed there were 4, not 5, chicken thighs, but I figured the butcher just counted wrong- no big.

Once the recipe was complete I was a little surprised by the ratio of sauce to chicken. Though I knew from my research that the consistency of the dish should be loose and soupy rather than thick and stew-like I was still a bit surprised, but it looked pretty and tasted yummy so I didn’t give it too much more thought and let the dish sit and cool on the stove top. Once the dish was cool I pack some for the next days lunch, put the lid on the pot, picked it up to move it to the fridge and what to my wondering eyes should appear behind the stove!? A big ol’ raw chicken thigh!

It must’ve fallen behind the pot when I dumped the chicken out of the butcher paper, duh! Argh, gross and wasteful! If you make this recipe try to make sure that all the chicken makes it in to the pot.

As I usually do with my international dishes, I found a few recipes on the internet and mixed them together to create a recipe that sounded best to me (though most of this one comes from Epicurious). I eliminated fenugreek from my recipe, though it seems to be an important spice in Ethiopian cooking it’s in the lentil family and I’m allergic to lentils, but otherwise I think this is  fairly authentic.

Doro W’at

  • 2 medium onions
  • Salt
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, divided in half
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 – 2lbs bone in, skin on chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • Juice of 2 small limes
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, peeled

Heat the onions and a pinch of salt over medium heat with a pinch of salt until onions begin to give off some liquid, approximately 5 minutes. Add half the butter and cook until onions have just begun to brown.

Add remaining butter, pepper, ground cloves, garlic, ginger, and berbere spice and cook about 10 minutes until the onions are nicely softened and coated with spices.

Add chicken thighs and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add wine. Bring back to a simmer and continue to simmer for 30 minutes.

Add lime juice and eggs and simmer gently for 5 minutes until eggs have heated through.

Remove chicken from pot. Remove and discard skin and bones and put meat back in sauce. Serve

Yields 4-6 servings

If this pot was see through you would see the raw chicken thigh lying behind it


Yum-eee! This recipe is so rich and flavorful and perfect for the drizzly overcast weather we’ve had her in New York this week. I would definitely call this a comfort dish and I will definitely make this again. I love spicy food so to me this dish had a nice kick, but wasn’t anywhere near my heat threshold. If you’re not a spicy fan you’ll find the kick more intense. 

There are very few things I’d change next time I make this, besides the whole, “get all the chicken in the pot,” thing. I used bone in, skin on thighs because they have more flavor however, I found there was a touch of oilyness to the sauce so next time I’ll remove the skin before adding the chicken to the pot. I’d also add more ginger, mostly because I love ginger and I’d like to make some Injera, Ethiopian bread, to go with this. 

So good on a rainy day

Melkam Megeb!

4 comments on “E is for… Ethiopia or Chicken Overboard

  1. Chrissann says:

    looks awesome (well, all of it but the raw chicken thigh of course)

  2. Yum! That looks delicious! Bummer about one of the thighs now ending up in the pot. 😦 Boo. I love spicy dishes, so this is right up my alley! The hard boiled egg thing is interesting – I haven’t ever had a savory dish w/ hard boiled eggs!

  3. Ooooh! I’ll have to try this! LOVE the fun recipes you’re posting, friend. You make me feel adventurous!

    • Alli says:

      Thanks! This was so so good. Tell me how it goes if you try it. I’m very excited for two recipes I’ll be making next week. One is my “G” recipe and the other is just something that sounds delicious to me. I’m excited.

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