Ethiopian Chicken Stew


This chicken stew, generously seasoned with the Ethiopian spice mix berbere, is loaded with tomato and red lentils. Depending on brand, berbere spice blend can be rather spicy. For a less spicy stew, start with 3 tablespoons spice blend rather than 5.

IngredientsIngredient Checklist

  • 1 ½ cups red lentils
  • 2 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups chopped red onions
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 5 tablespoons berbere spice blend (see Tip)
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

Instructions Checklist

  1. Step 1
    Wash lentils in cold water in a medium bowl until the water runs clear; drain and spread in an even layer in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Place chicken on top of the lentils.
  2. Step 2
    Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted, add onions and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add berbere and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in wine, scraping the onion mixture from the bottom of the pan, then stir in tomatoes with their juice.
  3. Step 3
    Add the onion mixture to the slow cooker on top of the chicken, then pour in broth.
  4. Step 4
    Cover and cook until the chicken is falling-apart tender, 5 hours on High or 7 to 8 hours on Low. Stir the stew to combine.

Make Ahead Tip: Trim chicken, prep onions, garlic and ginger. Refrigerate separately.

Equipment: 5- to 6-quart slow cooker

The secret to the irresistible flavor of this chicken stew is berbere spice blend (find it in well-stocked supermarkets or at This staple in Ethiopian cooking is a heady mix that usually includes garlic, fenugreek, allspice, red pepper, ginger, chiles, coriander, cinnamon and black pepper. If you can’t find it, use a mixture of 4 tablespoons garam masala, 1 tablespoon hot paprika, 1 teaspoon ground fenugreek and 1 teaspoon salt in this recipe.

For easy cleanup, try a slow-cooker liner. These heat-resistant, disposable liners fit neatly inside the insert and help prevent food from sticking to the bottom and sides of your slow cooker.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: about 1 1/4 cups
Per Serving: 430 calories; protein 38g; carbohydrates 35.2g; dietary fiber 7g; sugars 4.6g; fat 13.9g; saturated fat 4.1g; cholesterol 98.2mg; vitamin a iu 334.8IU; vitamin c 13.6mg; folate 102.1mcg; calcium 68.7mg; iron 4.8mg; magnesium 59.4mg; potassium 724.7mg; sodium 665.6mg; thiamin 0.6mg.
Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 3 lean meat, 1 fat