Slow Cooker Ethiopian Chicken and Lentil Stew

Slow Cooker Ethiopian Chicken and Lentil Stew

I can’t remember what piqued my curiosity to the Ethiopian spice blend Berbere, but I think it stuck in my head during a Top Chefathon.  Berbere is apparently a very common blend in Ethiopia;  it has a smoky, cinnamon, and curry flavor to it, almost like chili seasoning, but with a twist.  Up until a few months ago, I was afraid to venture outside my comfort zone of flavors when cooking.  I pretty much did only American, western European, or Latin influenced dishes.  But I keep loving these more exotic dishes, and I’m not so intimidated by them anymore.  First of all, you don’t have to go to a specialty store to find a spice blend.  I got Berbere on here on Amazon.  And second of all, many of the techniques used are similar, and it’s just about a new combination of flavors.  I had never cooked lentils before either, but I was excited to learn that they don’t have to be soaked overnight the way beans do.  So this dish took about 20 minutes of hands on time, if that.  Also, though it may be easier to just use granulated garlic, don’t.  It only takes a minute to mince the fresh kind, and it will taste much better.  It’s nice that in summer it doesn’t heat up your house too much, because you don’t have to use an oven.  


Difficulty Level:  Easya

Total Time: 5 hours

Serves: 8



2 cups of chopped onion

8 cloves of garlic, minced

2 cups diced carrots

5 tablespoons of Berbere

2 cups of dried lentils

olive oil

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or 5 leg quarters

2 cups of white wine

1 small can of tomato paste

2 cups of chicken broth

Salt and pepper

Greek yogurt

Fresh cilantro

  1. Turn on slow cooker to high. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, berbere, and lentils.
  2. Add chicken to a large pan over medium heat, and cook until the skin has browned, about 4 minutes per side.
  3. Discard any extra oil from the pan.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Bring it to a simmer, then reduce the heat, and cook for 8-10 minutes.  Stir the tomato paste into the wine and break it up until dissolved.
  5. Add the chicken and the wine and tomato mixture into the slow cooker.
  6. Add chicken broth until the chicken is covered in liquid.
  7. Cook on high for 4 hours.  Taste, and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Pull the chicken out.  Use a fork and tongs to pull the chicken off the bone, and shred it.  Discard the skin and bones, and add the chicken back into the stew.
  9. Continue to cook on low for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  10. Serve with a dollop of yogurt and some chopped fresh cilantro.

(adapted from Food and Wine online mag)

[originally posted 7/29/2016]

[pictures updated 1/30/2017]