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Ethiopian Sloppy Joes

This is my adaptation of a traditional Ethiopian dish called dinich wat.  It is a favorite of my family.  If I make enough to actually have leftovers the next day, my kids have been known to argue over who gets them.  I double this recipe for my family of 10.

Preparation Time: 50 minutes

Serves 6

  • 2 large onions
  • 6 potatoes
  • 1 pound ground beef, already browned
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 to 3 tsp cayenne pepper (add gradually, to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups water

Cook ground beef in a large heavy skillet and set it aside.  Wipe excess grease from skillet .  Peel onions and puree them in a food processor (or mince them very fine). Peel and mash garlic. Peel and chop potatoes into 1 inch cubes.

Heat oil in a large skillet and add pureed onions. Cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to brown a little.  Add garlic, tomato sauce, water, and potatoes.  Add the ginger, turmeric, cayenne, pepper and salt.  Mix well. Add cooked ground beef. 

Stir and cook over medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 3-5 minutes.  The mixture will look a little watery at first, but water will gradually evaporate as potatoes cook. Add the butter during the last few minutes of cooking.  If potatoes stick to the bottom of the skillet even after adding butter, add another 1/2 cup of water and turn down the heat a little.  Dish is done when potatoes are cooked through. 

Serve hot over injera or rice, or on toasted hamburger buns.  (Or serve it alongside a nice green salad.)

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Note: If you happen to have berbere, a traditional Ethiopian seasoning, you may use it (to taste) in place of the  cayenne, ginger, and turmeric in this recipe.  I used 2 generous tablespoons of berbere when I made this recipe yesterday for my spice-loving family.