Easy Ethiopian stew is made with aromatic Berbere spice blend that you make yourself in minutes. This recipe transforms a basic stew of green beans, potatoes, kidney beans and tomatoes to the flavorful exotic. It’s time to break from the mundane and this stew will help you in a few easy steps and 45 minutes.
Traditional Berbere spices
Don’t let the number of spices in Berbere spice blend put you off to this new spice experience. All the spices are easy to obtain. It’s the blend that creates the unique taste. Berbere spices are the flavor backbone of traditional Ethiopian cooking. This blend has been developed over centuries and although it’s more traditional in meat dishes, it’s also prevalent in ‘misr wot’ which is a red lentil dish. Today, we’re going to use it in an easy Ethiopian stew.
Grind if needed
When I buy the ingredients for my Berbere spice blend, I always end up with a few whole spices, such as white peppercorns and fenugreek and some ground. Easy to solve. Just pop your whole spices into your grinder for a minute and you are at spices. You’ll obviously end up with more blend than you need. My recipe will yield about ¾ cup (12 tablespoons). No problem. Put any extra Berbere blend in a sealed bag or container and store them with the rest of your spices.
Label me please
Berbere has an aroma unlike any other. You can recognize it immediately; however, I strongly recommend labeling your leftover blend. There is nothing worse than assuming you have it one hand, only to discover it’s actually taco seasoning or chili powder. That assumption always catches up to me at the precise moment when I am missing some key spice to quickly whip up my Berbere blend or my fenugreek has been on the shelf way too long.
Green beans and potatoes? I’m happy
Easy Ethiopian stew evolved from a dish I used to make with green beans and potatoes that was a side dish. But I’m rather in love with one-pot cooking these days. Choose easy, that’s me. With that in mind, I added 2 cans of kidney beans, increased some amounts and we landed at a nice big meal-in-a pot. This fits with my other strand of choosing easy. Cook enough for 2 days (and maybe even a lunch). With something as good as this around, you don’t mind leftovers. It will also keep for days in the fridge, so you can still have variety.
All together now
I was a bit skeptical when I first made this dish that I’d get the green beans and the potatoes to cook together and retain their integrity. Someone, can’t remember who, told me that potatoes don’t cook well in tomatoes. Wrong. It worked for loaded tempeh stew and it works for Ethiopian stew too. If you are mindful about keeping your potatoes bite-sized, you are good to throw everything in the pot, simmer and go relax for a few minutes.
Full of beans
Kidney beans are one of those go-to ingredients that I always try to keep on hand. They are sweeter than other beans and don’t fall apart when you cook them over an extended period of time. From a nutritional standpoint, kidney beans, like other beans give you extra fiber and protein, but kidney beans are also a great source of iron. So an easy toss into the pan without worry of bean mush. Good to go.
Take a longer road home
I created easy Ethiopian stew as a one-pot, stove top meal; however, you could also do the main cooking portion in the oven. You’ll want to sauté the onions, garlic and spices on the stove first and then put the green beans, potatoes, kidney beans and tomatoes into you casserole dish. Bake at 4000F (2000C) for an hour or more until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Just like the stove top method, baking will fill your house with the aroma of Berbere spices. Guaranteed hunger drive toward the kitchen.
Mundane satisfaction can be transformed into the spicy exotic with just a few additional ingredients or a change in cooking method. Boiled vegetables versus baking. Simmering in water versus vegetable broth. Salt and pepper versus a spice blend. Eating a variety of healthy plant-based food is one of the keys to keeping on track, whatever your goals. We can all keep up a few days of plain ol’ marginal salad when we are in the ‘do or die’ dieting mode. Long term success and equally importantly, food satisfaction is too difficult to achieve without nurturing our desires for food experiences.
Variety is the spice
If you want to ramp up your health, food is your first line of defense. We know this. But keeping to a ‘plan’ any plan, takes intention, resilience and a bit of strategy. One strategy that has worked well for me is to keep a bank of easy recipes that don’t require exotic ingredients, keep eating interesting. We all have our reliables and favorites, but sometimes it’s nice to veer from routine. Let’s keep life interesting. Otherwise, what’s the point? Peace.Print
Easy Ethiopian stew is a break from the mundane with an aromatic Berbere spice blend you make in minutes transforms beans, potatoes and tomatoes into a unique plant-based flavor experience.
Berbere spice blend
1 Tbsp each of:
- Paprika (smoked or sweet)
- White peppercorns
- Crushed red chili flakes (optional)
- Salt (optional)
- 1 large onion (1 ½ cups), diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1–2 Tbsp. Berbere spice blend
- 1 lb. green beans, trimmed and broken into bite-sized pieces
- 1 ½ pounds potatoes diced into bite-sized pieces
- 4 – 14 oz (350 gm) cans tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes, but crushed or fire roasted are equally great)
- 2 – 15 oz (400 gm) cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup water
- Salt to taste (optional)
- Make the Berbere spice blend by first grinding any whole spices such as the peppercorns or fenugreek. Next mix all the spices together by putting them in a jar or container with a lid and giving them a few hearty shakes.
- In a large soup pot, sauté the onions for 5 minutes until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and 1-2 Tbsp. Berbere spice mix. Stir to coat the garlic and onions for 1 minute.
- Add the green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, kidney beans and water.
- Bring the pot to a rolling pot and then reduce the heat to simmer.
- Cover and simmer until the potatoes can easily be pierced by a fork (about 25 minutes, depending on the size of your potato cubes).
- Add salt if desired.
- Serve over rice if desired.
- You might find a store bought Berbere spice blend in specialty markets that cater to middle Eastern or possibly Indian cuisines.
- As posted above, you can opt to make this an oven stew by first sauteing the onions, garlic and spices and then transferring it and all other ingredients to a large casserole dish. Bake at 4000F (2000C) for an hour or more until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.
- This recipe makes a lot (8 generous servings), but it freezes well. It also microwaves in a flash.
- If you are not a fan of red kidney beans, this stew is equally great with chickpeas (garbanzo beans). Just use the same quantities.
- Category: Main Courses
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: Ethiopian
Keywords: easy Ethiopian stew