Berbere Spiced Chicken
So I am
reading listening to Marcus Samuelsson’s autobiography right now… during long runs and my ultra boring work commutes to Auburn everyday. It’s called Yes, Chef, and it’s a really fascinating book, especially if you are into food/cooking, or have ever worked in the industry. And I just love being able to listen to the book, actually read by the author in his Swedish accent.
Anyway, Samuelsson’s staple spice is called berbere (originating from Ethiopia). I have enjoyed this spice in a dish called doro wat at Queen Sheba on Broadway here in Sacramento, and wanted to present the chef’s bebere spice recipe used in a Paleo setting.
So, I decided to make the spice mix and coat chicken breasts with it, then grill them. The flavor is a delicious mix of savory and sweet and can go on almost any meat.
Berbere Spice Mix
(by Chef Marcus Samuelsson)
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/2 cup ground dried Serrano chilies or other ground dried chilies
1/2 cup paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom, preferably freshly ground
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Finely grind the fenugreek seeds with a mortar and pestle or an electric spice or coffee grinder. Stir together with the remaining ingredients in a small bowl until well combined.
Toast the spices in a non-stick pan on low heat until the oils and aromatics are released. Remove from heat.
You’ll have enough spice to make about 6 chicken breasts (we use Mary’s organic chicken from Taylor’s Market), or you can make 2 breasts and save the rest of the spice for up to 3 months.
Place the chicken breasts in a medium sized bowl and cover them with 1 Tbs olive oil. Then coat the chicken breasts with the berbere and allow to marinate for 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator while your grill is preheating. If you can, buy the chicken breasts attached. This will help retain moisture during the cooking/grilling process. If you don’t have a grill, you can bake the chicken in the oven on a foil covered sheet or roasting pan.
We served the chicken with a chilled, white wine from Nichelini Winery, (they’re located outside of Napa Valley in the Chiles Valley region). The wine is called Muscadelle, and it was the perfect match for the berebere spice, because of it’s crispness and higher sugar content.
We had sautéed vegetables: eggplant, squash, and broccoli, and also a salad on the side.
Another fun weekend in the record books.