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Beef Stew in Spicy Berbere Sauce

Dan Goldberg
Prep time 20 mins
Cook time 2 hrs
Yield Makes 6 servings
This hearty beef stew in spicy berbere sauce is even easier to make than the classic American version.


  • 2 medium onions, quartered lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon each ground paprika and cayenne (see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon each ground cumin and fenugreek (optional; see
  • 1/2 teaspoon each ground turmeric, cinnamon, and cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon each ground cloves and allspice
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz.) crushed tomatoes in purée
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 2 1/2 pounds boned beef chuck, fat trimmed, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • Salt

Nutrition Information

  • calories 400
  • caloriesfromfat 50 %
  • protein 38 g
  • fat 22 g
  • satfat 10 g
  • carbohydrate 11 g
  • fiber 1.6 g
  • sodium 336 mg
  • cholesterol 144 mg

How to Make It

  1. In a food processor, pulse onions until very finely diced (almost puréed).

  2. Melt butter in 4- to 5-quart pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and stir until browned, about 10 minutes.

  3. Add ginger, paprika, cayenne, cumin, fenugreek, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and allspice; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, wine, and beef; bring to a simmer, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beef is very tender when pierced, about 2 hours. Add salt to taste.

  4. Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

  5. Ethiopian cooking 101:

  6. Berbere: This heady spice mixture is the basis for all Ethiopian cooking. It can feature clove, cayenne, ginger, cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon, among other spices. Ground fenugreek seeds, which add a mildly sweet flavor, are also typical. Buy them at Middle Eastern markets or from Penzeys Spices ($09 per 1/4-cup jar;

  7. Injera: Authentic injera is made from fermented teff, a grain common in Ethiopia. The bread's spongy, bubbly texture is similar to that of a pancake. If authenticity is your aim, you can buy teff flour from Abyssinian Market ($25 for 5 lb.;

  8. Tej: This Ethiopian honey wine is the traditional match for spicy stews, but few retailers in the United States carry authentic imported tej. You can buy a bottle at many Ethiopian restaurants, but an accessible alternative is off-dry Riesling, which pairs beautifully with the spicy beef stew. Our favorite: Spätlese Rieslings from Germany's Mosel region.

Cook's Notes

Notes: A generous dose of cayenne gives this stew a lively heat. If you prefer milder spice, reduce the amount to 1 or 2 teaspoons.