Monday, December 7, 2009

Ersatz Ethiopian

Berbere Roast Chicken with Spiced Yams and Injera Stuffing

I have been away wayyyy too long.

And I knew I would kick myself in the pants for not taking a picture of what I made last night...

I acquired some berbere seasoning, the bright red deliciousness you find meat and vegetables rolling in when you order nearly anything at an Ethiopian restaurant. I also acquired some injera, the flat sourdough pancake that serves as both plate and utensil. Traditionally, food is served on a large, round plate lined with injera, and scooped up with additional pieces of the same flatbread. Eating is a communal experience with everyone reaching for the same plate. Some people find this too darn weird, but I like it. The rich, spicy flavors are right up my alley, and what I made last night went really well with some tej, an Ethiopian dry honey wine, which can be found from Linganore Wineries right here in Maryland.

Since I had no idea what I was doing, I did as I assume the Ethiopians do and erred on the side of butter. I took my berbere, mixed it with butter and lemon juice, and rubbed copious amounts of this under the skin of a small fryer chicken. I sauteed some garlic, ginger, jalapenos, onions and leeks, then chopped them up with some injera and butter to make stuffing. I also roasted some spiced yams in the same pan. I served this alongside some kale and leeks, and some braised spiced turnips. And of course, more injera.

Berbere Roast Chicken

1 small chicken (mine was about 3 lbs.)
3 tbsp berbere seasoning
1 tbsp butter
2 tsp lemon juice

Injera Stuffing

1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
2 tbsp jalapeno pepper, chopped fine
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup leeks, chopped
1 cup injera, sliced in ribbons
1 tsp butter

Spiced Yams

1 large yam, in 1" cubes
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp lemon juice]
1 tbsp berbere seasoning
1 tbsp oil

Preheat oven to 450.
In a skillet, sautee the garlic, onion and leeks until lightly browned. Add ginger and jalapeno pepper and cook together until flavors are incorporated. Let cool briefly, then mix with injera and butter.

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Mix butter, lemon juice and seasoning together. Work seasoning up under skin of bird wherever possible, and inside cavity to be stuffed. You can do this a few hours in advance, then wrap and leave bird for up to 6 hours. When ready too cook, make sure stuffing cool enough to touch, then stuff into chicken. Make sure the cavity is as closed as much as possible, then tie the legs closed with cooking twine. Place the chicken on a rack in the center of a roasting pan, and scatter yams around the edges (the pan should be just big enough to hold everything; if things are scattered too much, they will dry out.)

Rub oil, sugar, lemon juice and seasoning over cubed yams. Arrange around chicken in roasting pan and cook alongside.
Roast chicken for 20 minutes on 450 to seal in juices, then lower heat to 350 and roast 20 minutes for each pound (1 hour, in this case). Turn yams and baste chicken halfway through cooking. Serve with injera.


Joy Hui Lin said...

your recipe sounds so exciting, I'm jazzed to try it.

adele said...

Ethiopian cuisine is one I am almost completely unfamiliar with. This sounds quite intriguing. :)