Dan Goldberg
Prep Time
20 Mins
Cook Time
2 Hours
Makes 6 servings

This hearty beef stew in spicy berbere sauce is even easier to make than the classic American version.

How to Make It

Step 1

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

Step 2

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

Step 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.

Step 4

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Step 5

Ethiopian cooking 101:

Step 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; www.penzeys.com).

Step 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.; www.abyssinianmarket.com).

Step 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.

Chef'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.

Ratings & Reviews

Made several times now

November 24, 2016
and love it. I tried it with Penzeys spice berbere and it was ouch too hot. Cut back the cayenne to maybe 1/2 teaspoon and just upped the other ground pepper. My husband wishes I would make it spicier but I just can't handle it. Served over potatoes or rice.

Love it

November 18, 2015
Thanks for sharing. Everyone who wants to try out this recipe, you can find authentic Berbere and others Ethiopian spices at www.fassica.com

KSussman's Review

January 26, 2014
Easy recipe, and provides a different riff on your typical beef stew. You'll want to drain the chopped onions in a sieve or colander since they release a lot of liquid during the chopping process. I substituted a Tunisian spice blend (from Fairway supermarket) for several of the spices, and added cardamom and allspice per the recipe. Very flavorful. Will serve over quinoa for a gluten-free dinner.

lperejma's Review

November 25, 2012
DO NOT USE THE FULL AMOUNT OF CAYENNE CALLED FOR. Has anyone ever tried this with the full amount of cayenne called for? Do they still have tastebuds? I reduced the amount of cayenne to 1 tsp and I still found it to be very spicy, almost inedible. Have the people at Sunset Magazine actually tried this recipe before publishing it? Even 1 tsp of cayenne that they say you can cut the amount down to gives the stew much more than a "lively heat" they claim.

Onecentinvegas's Review

October 20, 2011
I just didn't like this much, but my husband loved it. I followed the recipe exactly except I used less red pepper, and when it was done it had a sharp edge to the taste that I just didn't like. I added some raisins and a tablespoon of brown sugar which helped smooth it out, but it isn't something I'd make again. Husband ate 3 helpings and thought it was very good, but it just didn't do it for me.

mgowin's Review

October 06, 2011
This is really great! I went through all the steps through adding the wine and then moved everything over to my crockpot. I let it cook all afternoon and then we ate it over brown rice. It was super easy and delicious!

Amandaks's Review

November 01, 2009
Great recipe. Next time I will double the recipe so my husband and I don't fight over the leftovers!

sjsimmy's Review

January 16, 2009
The "sauce" for this stew is outstanding! I will definitely make this again, maybe using lentils, chickpeas or chicken instead of beef. I cooked the stew 2 hours on a low heat as suggested, but the beef never became tender. This is probably not the fault of the recipe, though, I'm terrible at cooking beef...