So, about that meat guilt...
Yes, I struggled with it and even might have made a big deal out of it the last time around. And yes, I had resolved to get some vegetarian entries in for September Ethiopian ASAP. But then I started researching recipes and I came across kitfo, a traditional Ethiopian dish of spiced raw beef.
I love raw beef.
So I set guilt aside (for the moment) and, armed with a Living Social voucher for $10 off at Whole Foods, bought a 1/2 lb of beef tenderloin and chopped it all to hell. Once thoroughly chopped, I mixed it with nit'r qibe (the spiced clarified butter) and mitmita, a potent Ethiopian spice powder that lent considerable heat to the affair.
Certain recipes call for lightly cooking the beef, but that's for the meek. The traditional way is to do it raw. It's important to use finely chopped -- not ground -- meat. Ground beef is a uniform mush, whereas the chopped meat has larger pieces which add substance and a slight chewiness. It's a textural experience, and the ferrous smack of raw beef was complemented well by the hot, aromatic spices.
But even still, the meat guilt was still there, so I paired up the mound of raw meat with some ye'abesha gomen, or spiced collard greens.
The best way to prepare collard greens, I find, is to trim out the fibrous center stem, roll the leaves tightly into little collard cigars, and slice them thinly. Prepared thus, you can simply saute them up with whatever flavoring you choose -- in this case, garlic, ginger, fenugreek, cardamom, vinegar, and chiles.
Next time we'll go vegetarian. I promise. Scout's honor. No joke. For reals.
Photos and recipes after the jump.
Kitfo (via the Los Angeles Times)
1 lb. beef tenderloin
4 tbsp. nit'r qibe
2 tsp. mitmita (or berbere)
1 tsp. ground cardamom
Salt to taste
Finely chop the beef and place in a medium-sized bowl. Add the nit'r qibe, mitmita, and cardamom and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Season with salt to taste. Serve at room temperature with injera.
Ye'abesha Gomen (via Saveur.com)
2 tbsp. nit'r qibe
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Thai chiles (or 1 jalapeño), seeded and finely chopped
1 1-in. knob fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 1/2 lbs. collard greens
Salt and pepper to taste
White wine vinegar to taste
Remove the center stems from the collard greens and roll the leaves into thick, short cigar-like shapes. Thinly slice the rolled collards and set aside.
Melt the nit'r qibe in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger, ginger, and chiles and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Add the collards and saute for 5-10 minutes, or until the collards have softened and are bright green.
Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately with injera.