It starts with the spices. You can use pre-ground spices, but using whole seeds will intensify and deepen the flavors of the Berbere. I use a mix of both. You can purchase Berbere at select stores, but truthfully where we live it’s a challenge to find. In Spokane, it is available at the Kitchen Engine, in the Flour Mill. The good thing is, it’s easy enough to make, and it’s fun.
Use a mortar and pestle, or even a coffee grinder, to grind the seeds.
Once the Berbere spice mix is done, start on the lentils.
When the lentils are simmering, rub chicken thighs on all sides with kosher salt, pepper and Berbere Spice Mix.
Heat a skillet with oil on medium high heat and place thighs skin side down, searing until golden and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Turn over and sear a few more minutes. Place in a hot oven until internal temp reaches 165F. Serve over the Ethiopian Lentils and sprinkle with Italian parsley.
- 1 Cup French Green, Indigo or Beluga Caviar lentils (do not use a split lentil)
- 3 C water
- 2 cups diced onions
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 T fresh ginger, minced
- 1 cup diced carrot
- 1 cup diced tomato
- 2-3 T Berbere Spice Mix...see below
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 T olive oil
- Fresh Italian parsley for garnish
- 6 chicken thighs ( skin-on)
- 2-3 T Berbere Spice Mix
- olive oil
- Kosher Salt
- Berbere Spice Mix
- 3 T sweet paprika
- 1 T red pepper flakes, ground plus more for extra spicy
- 2 tsp cumin seeds or powdered cumin
- 1 tsp coriander seed (or powder)
- 1 tsp cardamom powder or 1 tsp cardamom seeds (shell off)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tsp fenugreek seeds (or powder)
- 1 tsp black peppercorns or freshly ground peppercorn
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp allspice
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 400 F
- In a heavy bottom pot, or dutch oven, saute diced onion, carrots, garlic and ginger in 2 T olive oil, until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add 2-3 Tablespoons Berbere Spice mix and sauté 2-3 minutes. Add 1 cup lentils, 1 cup diced tomatoes, 1 tsp salt and 3 cups water, bring to a boil, cover, turn heat to low and let cook until al dente, about 30 minutes.
- Pat Dry Chicken
- Salt all sides of chicken with salt and pepper
- Generously rub each piece with some Berbere Spice Mix.
- Heat 1 T oil in a heavy bottom skillet, on medium high heat, place chicken skin side down and sear until it is crispy and golden, about 6- 8 minutes. Turn over, and turn heat down to medium, searing for 2-3 minutes. Place in a 400 F oven until internal temperature reaches 165F ( 10-15 minutes)
- Serve over a bed of the Ethiopian lentils, and garnish with fresh Italian parsley.
- Berbere Spice Mix:
- If using whole seeds, lightly toast them on the stove top in a skillet for 2-3 minutes.
- Grind them using a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. Remember to crush or grind the chili flakes.