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Berbere beef stew and spiced silverbeet

A hearty stew that's rich with warm spices and chilli. Flatbread essential.

By Alice Storey & Emma Knowles
  • Serves 4
  • 35 mins preparation
  • 4 hrs 20 mins cooking plus resting
Berbere beef stew and spiced silverbeet

Store the extra berbere spice in an airtight container in the pantry and use it to make other Ethiopian specialties, such as doro wat, a spiced chicken dish.

Ingredients

  • 40 gm ghee
  • 1 kg beef, such as brisket or chuck, cut into 4cm pieces
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1½ tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 400 gm canned crushed tomatoes
  • 500 ml beef stock (2 cups)
  • To serve: flatbread (see note)
Berbere spice
  • 6 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp each fenugreek seeds and black peppercorns
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • 50 gm dried onion flakes
  • 5 small dried red chillies, seeds removed, coarsely broken
  • 50 gm sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp each ground nutmeg, ground ginger and ground cinnamon
Spiced silverbeet
  • 500 gm silverbeet leaves (about 1 bunch)
  • 1½ tbsp ghee
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1½ tbsp nigella seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • Pinch of ground allspice

Method

  • 1
    For berbere spice, dry-roast cardamom, cloves, coriander and fenugreek seeds, black peppercorns and allspice in a small frying pan over medium heat until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Cool, then finely grind in a mortar and pestle, or spice grinder, with onion flakes and chilli. Stir through remaining spice and 1 tsp fine sea salt.
  • 2
    Heat half the ghee in a large casserole or saucepan over medium heat. Add beef in batches, turn occasionally until browned (3-5 minutes), then remove from pan and set aside. Heat remaining ghee, add onion and stir occasionally until golden (8-10 minutes). Add garlic and ginger, and stir until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Add 2½-3 tbsp berbere spice (remainder will keep for 3 months) and stir to combine. Add tomato and stock, and bring to a simmer, then return beef to the pan and reduce heat to very low, cover and stir occasionally until beef is quite tender (3-3½ hours). Remove lid and cook until beef is thoroughly giving (1 hour). Set aside to rest (15 minutes).
  • 3
    For spiced silverbeet, blanch leaves until just tender (1 minute), drain and refresh, then squeeze to remove excess water. Heat ghee in a large frying pan over high heat. Add garlic, ginger and seeds, and stir until fragrant (30 seconds). Add silverbeet and stir occasionally until it starts to become golden (3-4 minutes). Add allspice, season to taste and serve hot with beef stew and flatbread.

Notes

Injera is Ethiopia's traditional flatbread, but Lebanese or Afghan breads also work well.
Drink Suggestion: Bold red zinfandel. Drink suggestion by Max Allen