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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ethiopian Food: Gomen

I love to cook Ethiopian food and thought I'd share the recipes I've been using for the past couple years. In case you missed it, here's the first one: Nit'ir Qibe.

Gomen is the green stuff! 
I LOVE Gomen. L-o-v-e.  Gomen is Ethiopian Collard Greens and the hardest part of the entire recipe is chopping the collards. And if you're lucky, your grocery store will sell you a bag already chopped. I'm usually someone who would rather do something myself than pay extra to have it already done for me, but that goes out the window with collards. Chopping them just isn't my favorite thing to do!  Now, I have heard you can substitute spinach for the collards and I imagine that would work pretty well too, I've just never tried it.

I love the story behind this recipe. I first learned how to make Ethiopian Gomen from my friend who is Lebanese! My friend Lina has a really cool blog where she and her husband post recipes they've tried/adjusted. They posted their adventure in Ethiopian food here. They even attempted injera, which I have yet to do!  Her family owns Ghassan's, our very favorite Mediterranean restaurant and that is where we met!  So my arrival at one of my favorite Ethiopian dishes was a rather international route!!   I've since made a few adjustments to the recipe she used, but my first attempt at Gomen was a success, thanks to Lina.

Whenever I make Ethiopian food for people who have never had it before, Gomen is always one of their favorites!  Ethiopian food can look intimidating to those who have never eaten it, but I've made it for several friends and family members and every single one has loved it!  Even my not-so-adventurous friends! Gomen's a good one because you can make it not-so-spicy. And Ethiopian food is awesome for entertaining: you only use one plate total, and zero utensils! Clean-up is a snap! :)

So here you go for Gomen!

Gomen
1 lb collard greens, washed & coarsely chopped
Nit'ir Qibe or regular butter
1 red onion, diced
a few cloves garlic (however much you like), minced
several green hot peppers, thinly sliced - this part is really up to you. If you love super-spicy foods (which I do), get some really hot peppers, like serranos.   However, my kids don't like spicy so much, so I just use 1 much milder pepper.  Most recently, I used Anaheim peppers and it was hardly spicy at all.

Boil your collards for 10 minutes or so, until they've softened a good bit.

Once your collards have been going about 5 minutes, put a big ole chunk of your nit'ir qibe in a hot skillet. If you didn't take my advice and make this amazing butter, you can use regular butter or oil, but I feel very sad for you right now.  If you did take my advice, bask in the amazing smell you now have permeating your house and pretend you are actually in Ethiopia! :)  And wait for a spouse and/or children to come out of the woodwork, wanting to know how much longer till dinner's ready!

Saute your red onion in the butter, about 4-5 minutes, stirring often to make sure they don't brown. Drain your collards, and then add them along with the garlic and peppers to the red onion. Lower the heat and cook it down until the collards have really wilted, stirring frequently.  Taste it as you go and add butter/nit'ir qibe until you like how it tastes. I like to taste a little bit of the bitterness from the collards. I usually end up adding about the same amount of butter I started with.

Serve with injera, and enjoy!

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