Authentic Sega Wat Spicy Ethiopian Beef Stew Recipe
Ethiopian food is one of my absolute favorites. The flavors are so warming and dynamic, and exotic in the best ways to a westernized palate like mine. My mind was totally blown the first time I went to an Ethiopian restaurant and tasted these dazzling flavor combinations, served with the spongy and delightful injera bread.
I especially love that Ethiopian food is traditionally eaten communally with the hands. Where I currently live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, there isn’t an Ethiopian restaurant - but the good news is, it’s incredibly satisfying to make Ethiopian meals in the comfort of your own home. They’re an absolute crowd pleaser and also something unique and uncommon for the majority of people you might be cooking for.
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Beef That’s Pasture Raised In Mountain Valleys
Our grass-fed & finished beef is raised essentially wild on a beautiful 20,000 acre ranch here in New Mexico. The cows roam freely as far as the eye can see with extremely minimal handling. For those familiar with New Mexico, it might sound surprising that there’s so much lush green grass for them to graze on. These fields are naturally irrigated by a sparkling river flowing with ice-melt from the Sangre de Cristo mountains. We started stocking beef due to popular demand from customers who wanted to eat this meat with the knowledge that it’s impeccably sourced.
Optional Components That Are Totally Worth The Effort
There’s three components of this recipe that are optional but extremely delicious if you are able to procure them. The first is homemade berbere seasoning. You can find premade berbere seasoning in African groceries or some specialty grocery stores, but making your own will usually result in an even more flavorful seasoning.
The second optional but incredibly tasty item is traditional Ethiopian injera bread. If you’ve never had it before, I highly suggest making it if you have time because the taste and texture are nothing short of amazing. If you’re lucky enough to have an Ethiopian restaurant near you, you could always order some of their injera for takeout to go with your homemade sega wat.
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Niter Kibbeh: Your New Favorite Cooking Oil
The third item is highly worth making, and includes some optional hard-to-find spices that can easily be omitted. It’s known as niter kibbeh and is a spice infused clarified butter widely used for cooking in Ethiopian cuisine. It will give whatever you cook it with incredible flavor, and the simple process of clarifying the butter creates an excellent high heat cooking oil.
If you have time to make your own niter kibbeh, I highly recommend doing so. You’ll find yourself using it to cook anything you can add it to. If you don’t have niter kibbeh, bison tallow, ghee or butter would all be great substitutes. There are excellent recipes available online for homemade berbere seasoning, injera and niter kibbeh.
- 2 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 6 tablespoons niter kibbeh, ghee or bison tallow, divided
- 3 cups chunky onion paste, pulsed in a food processor
- 1 ½ tablespoons garlic, finely minced
- 1 ½ tablespoons ginger, finely minced
- ¼ berbere spice blend (homemade or purchased from an African or Ethiopian grocery)
- 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
- 1 cup bison bone broth
- 4 hard boiled eggs, shells removed and poked with a fork all over (insert fork about ¼ inch deep)
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- In a large dutch oven or other thick bottomed pot, heat three tablespoons of niter kibbeh, ghee or bison tallow. Add in the chunky onion paste (if unable to use a food processor just dice the onions). Cover the pot and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring every so often.
- Add the minced garlic, ginger and another tablespoon of niter kibbeh, ghee or bison tallow to the pot. Continue to cook and stir occasionally for approximately ten minutes.
- Add the berbere seasoning to the pot, along with the last two tablespoons of niter kibbeh, ghee or bison tallow. Put the cover back on the pot and continue to cook over low heat for another ten minutes.
- Add the bison bone broth, chuck roast and sea salt to the pot. Increase the heat to bring everything to a boil. Reduce and simmer, covered, for approximately 45 minutes, stirring every so often.
- Taste the stew and add more berbere if desired. Add in the hard boiled eggs (peeled and poked with a fork) and cover. Simmer on low heat for approximately 10 minutes.
- Remove the eggs from the stew before serving. Cut them in half or in quarters and garnish the plates or bowls of stew with them.
- Serve the sega wat hot, alongside injera, rice or sourdough bread.
Note: The stew will be even better the next day, after the flavors have had a chance to meld