Beef Stew in Spicy Berbere Sauce

Hello November!  Time for stews. 🙂  I love Ethiopian food, so this take on beef stew was fun to make and very tasty.  My  one complaint…way too much cayenne.  I can handle heat, but I felt like this overshadowed the fantastic spice mix that helped to make up the sauce.  That said, I made this with double the liquid and a smidgen of the cayenne compared to the original recipe, so maybe I am becoming a pepper wuss?  Either way, we’ll definitely make this again, but I may use a different method to get a little heat.  This came from Sunset magazine originally, and I served it with steamed rice and Moroccan carrots.


  •     2 medium onions, quartered lengthwise
  •     1/4 cup butter
  •     1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  •     1 tablespoon ground paprika
  •     1 teaspoon each ground cumin and fenugreek
  •     1/2 teaspoon each ground turmeric, cinnamon, and cardamom
  •     1/4 teaspoon each ground cloves and allspice
  •     pinch cayenne pepper or to taste
  •     1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes, crushed by hand.
  •     1/2 cup dry red wine
  •     1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat

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

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

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.

Note: The original recipe called for a tablespoon of cayanne.  I goggled, used a scant half-teaspoon instead and I still felt like it really overshadowed all the great flavors here.  If you like a ton of heat, go for it…I usually do too, but I found it unnecessary to be *that* hot here.

Note2:  You can skip the fenugreek if you don’t have it on hand.  It was optional in the original recipe.  I liked it here, but it won’t affect the recipe to remove it.


1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Moroccan Carrots « Om nom nom!

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