Cooking – When is it worth the effort?

Shrimp Millet Sushi Rolls Recipe
My cooking philosophy is ‘maximum flavor with minimum effort.’ I’ve taken a few cooking classes where afterwards I have never made any of the recipes again because they required too much work for the reward.  Because I have a full-time job with long hours, quick and easy is essential for day-to-day cooking.  Projects like sushi (pictured above) or homemade tamales are great for weekends or dinner parties. Most of my favorite cooking comes from food experimentation – prosciutto-wrapped figs, delicata squash or my favorite avocado and cilantro salad.

I learned to make this Ethiopian Chicken Stew at a recent cooking class and was amazed at the way the flavors melded together.  Don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you.  They are easy to assemble, and the entire recipe cooks up quickly with rich, full flavors as a reward.  This was our second-favorite recipe in a class full of winners (like the Sorghum Cauliflower Curry Recipe).  I highly recommend serving the chicken with gluten-free polenta; the sauce will coat the base and the spices will be highlighted by the subtle flavor of the corn.
Ethiopian Chicken Stew Recipe
Gluten-Free Ethiopian Chicken Stew
4-6 Servings
Adapted from Whole Grains Every Day Every Way by Lorna Sass

1 tablespoon sweet paprika
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (or 4 cardamom pods, crushed to reveal the seeds)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 pounds bone-in chicken parts, trimmed of excess fat
salt to taste
2 to 3 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth


Combine paprika, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, cayenne, and black pepper in a small bowl and set aside.

Season chicken evenly with salt and pepper and divide into 2 batches (depending upon the size of your pan).  Heat oil in a large wide saucepan over medium-high heat.  Arrange first batch of chicken in asingle layer in saucepan and brown on all sides (about 8 minutes).  Set aside. Repeat with second batch and set aside.

Add onion to pan, adding more oil if needed.  Cook until onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes.  Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in the ground spices and cook, stirring continuously, until well combined.

Stir in chicken broth to deglaze the pan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Return all browned chicken to pan, cover and simmer until chicken is tender and cooked through, about 35 to 45 minutes.  Add more broth or water if mixture becomes dry.  Turn chicken half way through cooking if certain pieces are not completely immersed in the liquid.

Serve warm atop polenta, rice or the veggie of your choice. 

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Julie said,

March 24, 2009 @ 2:54 am

Great recipe! I’m just starting to research the gluten-free lifestyle, and am going to try this right away.

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