Berbere Chicken with Ethiopian Lentils

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Recipe from Sylvia Fountaine, Feasting At Home

Serves 6 | active time 15 minutes, total time 45 minutes

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 1.31.05 PMLentils

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups diced onions
1 cup diced carrots
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2–3 tablespoons Berbere Spice Mix (recipe below)
1 cup French green, indigo, or beluga caviar lentils (do not use a split lentil)
1 cup diced tomato
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups water
fresh Italian parsley for garnish


6 chicken thighs (skin on)
kosher salt
ground black pepper
2–3 tablespoons Berbere Spice Mix
olive oil

Berbere Spice Mix

3 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes, ground plus more for extra spiciness
2 teaspoons cumin seeds or powder cumin
1 teaspoon coriander seeds (or powder)
1 teaspoon cardamom powder (or seeds, shell off)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (or powder)
1 teaspoon black peppercorns (or freshly ground)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a heavy-bottom pot or Dutch oven, add olive oil and saute diced onion, carrots, garlic, and ginger until tender, about 5–7 minutes. Add 2–3 tablespoons Berbere Spice Mix and saute 2–3 minutes. Add lentils, diced tomatoes, salt, and water. Bring to a boil, cover, turn heat to low, and cook until al dente, about 30 minutes.

Pat chicken dry. Salt and pepper all sides. Generously rub each piece with Berbere Spice Mix.

Heat 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 the skillet of chicken in a 400°F oven until the chicken’s internal temperature reaches 165°F (10–15 minutes).

Serve chicken over a bed of the Ethiopian lentils and garnish with fresh Italian parsley.

If using whole seeds, lightly toast them in a skillet on the stovetop for 2–3 minutes. Then grind them using a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. Remember to crush or grind the red pepper flakes.

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