Saturday, June 11, 2011

Doro Wet: Ethiopian Chicken Stew

Myra called this recipe "a snap to make," which might have been true had I read through the ENTIRE recipe before going to the grocery store. The ingredients list called for "a whole chicken, cut up, skin removed and fat trimmed." So, I bought a whole chicken. I've been a vegetarian since I started grocery shopping for myself, so I'd never bought a chicken before.

Then, I got home, and I read Myra's note at the bottom of the recipe. She wrote, "Buy a whole chicken, and have the butcher cut it up for you."


That began a serious adventure for my friend Marie who came early to help me cook. As a vegetarian, I pawned the chicken butchering off to her. Online tutorials proved invaluable (How did people butcher chickens before the internet?). I enjoyed watching her pop the wing tips out of their joints, carefully cut around the oyster on the thigh meat, cut off the neck and pull off skin.

Next time, we'll buy a pre-butchered chicken. Sure buying the whole chicken saved us about six dollars, but I'm not sure if it was worth the hour it took Marie.

Doro We't (Ethiopian Chicken Stew)
recipe from Myra Kornfeld

This recipes serves 4 to 6. It's one of the best-known Ethiopian dishes. It's traditionally served with boiled eggs in the dish. I hard-boiled eggs, had a lucky guest who showed up early (my little brother!) peel them, and served them alongside the chicken.

Your cut-up chicken should include: 2 legs, 2 thighs and 4 breast pieces (cut them in half). We also used the wings, and we left the skin on them.

1 whole chicken, cut up, skin removed and fat trimmed
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup nit'ir qibe (Ethiopian clarified butter)
2 cups red onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
6 tablespoons berbere paste
1 cup water
1/2 cup red wine
1 teaspoon salt
6 hard-boiled eggs

Soak the chicken in a large bowl filled with water and the juice of 1 lime. Drain the chicken, and pat it dry.

Warm the nit'ir qibe in a large skillet with sides. Add the red onions and garlic, and cook over medium-low heat until the onions are browned, about 10 minutes. Add the ginger powder, the berbere paste, the water, the wine, and the salt. Stir to combine.

Add the chicken, turning it to coat it. Cover the pan. Cook the chicken over medium heat until the chicken is tender, 30 to 40 minutes, flipping the chicken from time to time (We flipped it about every 8 minutes). Transfer the chicken to a bowl as the pieces become fork tender.

When the chicken is all removed, uncover the pan and simmer rapidly to reduce the liquid to sauce consistency, about 15 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan, along with any accumulated juices, and toss it to coat in the sauce.

Serve hot, with hard-boiled eggs.


  1. Way to go Marie! I think knowing how to butcher a chicken would help me when I try to carve a whole baked chicken. I always fumble with that chore. You're a good egg! sue

  2. I know! It was quite impressive to watch. I was so thankful she did it and not me!

  3. The least I could do for getting a chance to eat this awesome meal!!!

  4. I definitely need more guests like Marie! Wow, it looks just wonderful. I saw those eggs on the plate of food in another post of yours and wondered about that, so thanks for including what that was all about. I am marking this one to try as well. In the Midwest, we do not have many Ethiopian restaurants and I have heard much, so this will be fun, thanks!

  5. Kayte, I think we all need more guests like Marie! She made the dinner party so much earlier. I'm so glad you were able to find out more about the egg dish. I never tasted it (I'm a vegetarian), but I heard good things about it!