Home - is where I want to be / But I guess I'm already there /I come home -
she lifted up her wings /
Guess that this must be the place...
- Talking Heads, "Naive Melody"

Monday, April 7, 2008

April Supper Club - Eggs

It was a smaller group than usual, but a convivial evening as always. The conversation ranged over countless topics, but it was mostly families, jobs, and food.

The menu:

F--Yellow cake with chocolate frosting

K--Potato and onion frittata

P--Asparagus bake with hard-boiled eggs

And for me... as you may recall, in March we tried a new sort of planning, which involved random drawing of who did which course; I drew "main." We had already picked eggs as a theme, perhaps a little giddy with sangria or longing for spring. For weeks all I could think of were things that either didn't travel well (souffles) or were so egg-heavy that they wouldn't give much opportunity for everyone else's dishes to shine.

The answer arrived the day before Easter. The April issue of Saveur has an article on Ethiopia, which included a recipe for a chicken stew called doro wat, which includes hard-boiled eggs. Perfect!

I have subscribed for years, but never actually cooked from this magazine. They are the National Geographic of food lit: slim, gorgeously photographed, well-written, sturdily immune to fads, and worth keeping indefinitely. When Dave tried the other night to convince me that I am in fact a "foodie," he pointed to my shelf of back issues as evidence. I have never minded the fact that most of the actual recipes they publish don't strike a chord with me; I treasure the magazine as an island of quality writing in a field where it increasingly seems that advertisers have more to say than the publishers.

Here is their doro wat recipe:

4 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 large yellow onions, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
1 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp berbere, plus more to taste
4 chicken legs, skinned and divided into drumsticks and thighs
Kosher salt to taste
4 whole hard-boiled eggs

  1. Heat butter in a large, straight-sided skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until deeply caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until softened, 6-8 minutes. Add berbere and 2 c water; stir well. Season the chicken with salt; nestle the pieces in the skillet. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, turning occasionally until the chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes.
  2. Uncover skillet and raise heat to medium-high; simmer to reduce the liquid to a thick gravy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs; stir to warm through. Taste and season with more salt and berbere if necessary.
I was doubling the recipe, so I did the onions in the food processor--they were much too finely chopped as a result. Next time I'd do them by hand. I didn't see that the chicken was supposed to be skinned until it was all together; oops.

The recipe they included in the magazine for the spice mixture called berbere was a bit too complicated for me, calling for a spice grinder and whole versions of many spices I already have in ground form, so I went with one I found online instead. I used less of the red pepper flakes than it calls for, to be on the safe side of the group's tongues. I have quite a bit left over, so I think I will make this again some time soon.

I also made the injera (flatbread) recipe they included in the article, but I can't say it turned out all that great, though perhaps I just need practice. It was certainly easy to make.

Next month I will be traveling, and everyone will just bring one of their favorite dishes. I'll be sorry to miss it!


FleshyHeadedMutant said...

I went over the post a couple of times, but I don't see where you ever said whether you actually thought this turned out well or not. I'm guessing yes, since you said you'll probably make it again to use up the spice...

When I think egg dish, I think of a "thousand year old egg" Chinese risotto dish one of my friends likes to make. Damned it's good.


P.S. I ended up not making that cake after all.

RJS said...

Oh! Er, yes, I did like it. The chicken was very tender and nicely seasoned.

I would never think of putting thousand year eggs in a risotto. Curious!

Time has not yet run out for cake-making. :)

FleshyHeadedMutant said...

I don't know that technically it's a risotto, since it is supposedly a traditional Chinese dish, but it has all the apparent properties of a risotto, so that's what I chose to call it. It's yummy as heck, whatever it is.

We have a birthday potluck coming up at work, so, yeah, there's still time enough for cake making (which should surprise everyone at work, since I usually go for savory dishes).

Oh, one thing I forgot to ask: regarding the too-finely-chopped onions in the food processor, have you ever tried an alligator-chopper? I got one for my birthday last year and it makes chopping onions a breeze. I love it.



RJS said...

I had to Google "alligator chopper" - never heard the term before. I don't have one. Something to look into!