Ethiopian Chicken Stew

IMG_20151211_140338_editThrough my day job I meet a lot of people who have come to Canada from all over the world.  Inevitably we get to talking about food, and in particular their traditional recipes from home. I’d like to thank my new Ethiopian friend and client Mohammed for introducing me to this dish, though his wife wouldn’t give me the recipe for her berbere spice blend (which is a lot better than the store bought blend I use). I hope you enjoy this amazing recipe.

Kitchen Cook Time and Prep: This recipe makes enough stew for 4-6 back country servings and takes about 1 hour 30 minutes to prepare.

Tools: You will need a large Dutch oven or stock pot to cook with. In the back country you will need a stove and a pot to boil water. A spoon or spork would be helpful.

Back Country-What to Expect: There is a lot of chicken in this dish, as well as large chunks of vegetables.  It is best to pre-hydrate the meal a couple hours before cooking to allow the chicken to properly absorb enough water so as not to drain your cooking fuel.  Enjoy with camp rice or nan bread. It’s particularly good on those cold rainy days because the heat in the Ethiopian berbere will warm you up good!

Try this recipe out, let me know if you have any questions or comments below, and make sure you share this recipe with your friends that love spicy and exotic  food  and the back country.

Ethiopian Chicken Stew
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Entree
Kitchen Type: Back Country
Serves: 4
For the Brine
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 tbsp sea salt
For the Stew
  • 4 skinless-boneless chicken thighs, thinly sliced (bone-in, skin-on for @home version)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup water (as needed)
  • ¼ coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp berbere powder
  • ¾ cup homemade chicken stock
  • ¼ cup red wine
A Few Backcountry Extras
  • 1 cup carrots, diced, or
  • 1 cup rutabaga, diced,or
  • 1 cup summer squash, diced, and
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, or butter powder
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the lime juice and salt. Add the chicken thighs, making sure each thigh is coated in the marinade. Cover and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
  2. While chicken is marinating prepare the flavour base for the stew. In your kickass blender or food processor purée the onions, garlic and ginger. Add water slowly. Mixture should be blending easily at this point. Puree until smooth.
  3. In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, melt coconut oil. Once completely melted add paprika and berbere powder; cook for 3 minutes. Add the onion mixture and sauté for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Stir in the stock and wine. Add the chicken from the marinade and cover each piece with the sauce (if making @home, or add chicken meat and stir if making for the backcountry). Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through.
  5. Backcountry Extras are a great way to jack up the carbs in this dish and can be added with the chicken.
Back Country Preparation

Allow to cool to room temperature. Place 1½ cup per serving of mixture on the fruit roll-up trays on your Excalibur. On the meat setting (155 - 165 degrees), dehydrate for 8 hours, or overnight. Once fully dry, break up and seal into vacuum seal bags along with ⅓ cup of Camp Rice/instant rice. Store in freezer until ready to head into the back country.

To rehydrate I add 1½ cup of water a few hours before you intend to eat. Store in a strong resalable bag. I've been using resealable vacuum seal bags and they work perfectly. At meal time it only requires 3-5 minutes of simmer time before it's ready to eat.

Alternatively, bring 1 ¾ cups of water to a boil. Add the dehydrated contents and allow to come to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and allow rice to absorb the liquid. Serve and enjoy


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