The Recipe - Eritrean Spicy Chicken

Immigrant Kitchens Eritrean Spicy Chicken

As Asmeret Teklu, from Mendefeera, Eritrea, taught Lindsay Sterling at Asmara Restaurant, 51 Oak Street, Portland, ME.

Serves: 8
cooking time: 2-3 hours

3 cups minced yellow onion (between 6 and 8 onions, use a Cuisinart if possible)
1 cup water
1 lemon
4 dashes turmeric
1/3 cup ghee
6 Tbsp berbere spice  
2 cups tomato sauce
4 large whole tomato, blended with a 1 cup water 
6 cloves garlic minced
16 raw chicken drumsticks
sourdough injera or sourdough bread
fixins for a side salad (lettuce, cucumber, tomato, and dressing)

In a large soup pot with lid on medium high heat, cook onions with 1 cup water, covered, about 10 minutes. You don’t want any browning, just softening. While that’s cooking pull off the chicken skins with a paper towel (great for gripping slippery skin) and soak skinless drumsticks in water. Squeeze a wedge of lemon into the water and throw in the rind. Always wash hands and any equipment that touched raw chicken.

Add the ghee and turmeric into the onions. Stir in berbere spice making a thick, dark red paste. Turn heat to medium. Let cook for a couple minutes, stirring to prevent burning, then stir in enough water to make the sauce the texture of tomato sauce. Stir in the actual tomato sauce and blended tomato and cover and cook for about 45 minutes until the onions have disintegrated and the sauce is smooth. (Stir every so often to keep the bottom from burning. If it’s too thick and threatening to burn, add a little water to loosen, but not so much as to make the sauce watery.)

Once the sauce is smooth, stir in the garlic and submerge the drumsticks in the sauce. Cook covered until meat shrinks off anklebones (about 40 min.), stirring occasionally to prevent burning. If you have injera batter, cook the injera now. Serve meat and sauce and salad in two piles on top of the injera. If you don’t have injera batter, serve the meat and sauce in a bowl with slices of sourdough bread and a side salad in a separate bowl. Keep leftover meat and sauce in fridge and eat for days.

copyright Lindsay Sterling 2010