Doro Wat – Ethiopian Spicy Chicken Stew

As a proud voter on election day, what could be more patriotic than sharing a recipe that celebrates our historical melting pot through food? I hosted November book club, selecting Ethiopian food based on our book of choice: Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, in which Ethiopia is a prime location for much of the tale. And, like much of America, Ethiopians in the U.S. are split in their vote between Romney and Obama.
Doro Wat is a traditional Ethiopian dish – a spicy chicken stew. This recipe enjoys the convenience of a crockpot for a dish that can be created easily and celebrated on both sides of the aisle.
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with diced green chiles, undrained
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 TBS butter
2 large onions, diced
1 TBS minced garlic
1 tsp fresh, ground ginger
1 ½ tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp yellow curry powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
¼ cup brewed coffee
1 1/2 cups water
8 hard-boiled eggs (peeled, to add later)
Don’t be intimidated by this list of ingredients. I sat down to make the grocery list with a groan, and was pleasantly surprised to realize I only needed to purchase chicken, onions and turmeric.  The other spices are part of most pantries and are all easy to find at regular grocery stores.  Also, fresh ginger root keeps in the freezer for months – grate it while frozen and just pop the leftover root in a ziplock back in the freezer.
1. Pull out your crock pot, plug it in and empty the tomatoes can into your cooker.
2. Place in the chicken thighs, layering as needed. Add the lemon juice, coffee, butter, diced onion, and all of the spices.
3. Pour in the water and stir the spices to eliminated clumps.
4. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or high for 4 to 5. I went with 4.5 hours on high. The soup is ready when the onions are soft and translucent and the chicken is cooked through and beginning to fall apart.
5. Ladle into a wide-mouth bowl and place a whole hard-boiled egg into each dish. Serve with injera (Ethiopian bread) and lots of dry, red wine.
Book club ladies and the boyfriend offered the following reviews:
  • “It’s savory, with a bit of spice.”
  • “Yummy, unique flavors that warm you up.”
  • “Robust flavor.”
  • “You can taste the onion, but in a good way.”
  • “It seems so simple to make. A great use for chicken thighs which are always cheaper than breasts.”

I’ll definitely cook this stew again, and will try my hand at making – rather than buying – injera. I also attempted this side dish of mesir wat for book club, but without much success. Which means there’s always a new cooking challenge!

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