When I was unemployed a few years back, I started working on a barbeque cookbook that was going to focus on the same geographic region as my music blog – Radiodiffusion Internasionaal. But about halfway thru my research, Steven Raichlen‘s Planet Barbeque was published. That book pretty much covered most of the recipes that I had collected up to that point, so I thew in the towel. Also, I got a job.
One of the recipes that was not in Raichlen’s book, was one I found in Kathy Eldon’s Specialities of the House from Kenya’s Finest Restaurants for “Ethiopian Grilled Kebabs”. The original recipe called for “rump or fillet steak” to be cut up in the cubes and skewered for grilling. Usually I use beef tenderloin, but this time I decided to try it with skirt steak instead.
Berbere Spiced Skirt Steak
1½ tsp garlic, minced
½ tsp ginger, minced
1 tbsp Berber
2 tbsp “of any liquor” (I usually use Bourbon, but went with Brandy this time.)
2 tbsp olive oil
1+ lb. skirt steak
In a food processor, make a paste with the garlic and ginger then mix in the Berber, liquor and olive oil and mix well. Coat meat with marinade and put into a zip top bag. Marinate up to 6 or 7 hours, turning occasionally. Grill on high heat, turning once. Roughly 4 to 5 minutes a side.
This recipe for Collard Greens with Spiced Cottage Cheese was adapted from The Africa News Cookbook: African Cooking for Western Kitchens. I decided to use Marcus Samuelsson’s recipe for Nit’it Qibe (which you can find here) from his The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa instead of the version in The Africa News Cookbook.
12 oz cottage cheese
⅓ cup nit’it qibe (melted)
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp ground cardamom seeds – ground in a mortar and pestle
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 bunch of collards greens – washed, stems removed and chopped
1 tsp Garlic, minced.
2 tbsp nit’it qibe
Mix the first six ingredients and let stand at room temp. for 15 min. before serving.
In a large pot of salted boiling water, stir the greens until they are wilted. Reduce heat to medium, and cover the pot. Cook for 5 minutes until the greens are tender, but still a vibrant green color.
Drain greens in a colander and transfer them to a large bowl of cold water to halt the cooking. Transfer the greens to a salad spinner and spin to remove excess water. Chop the greens into bite-sized pieces. (The greens can covered and stored in the fridge several hours at this point.)
Melt 2 tbsp nit’it qibe in a large sauté pan (or wipe out the pot you used to cook the greens and use it) over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook for 30 to 60 seconds, stirring continuously. Toss the greens well to coat with oil (adding additional olive oil if needed), then cover pan until heated through, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Plate the collards, then spoon the cottage cheese on top.
Most importantly: Be sure to play Alèmayèhu Eshèté, Ayaléw Mèsfin, Gétatchèw Mèkurya, Mahmoud Ahmed, Mulatu Astatqé, Tadèlé Bèquèlè, Tlahoun Gèssèssè and others from the Éthiopiques series real loud while cooking. Trust me, it’ll add flavor.
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I went with a bottle of the Sole Composition Pinot Cherry Four – a wheat based table saison aged with cherries in Pinot Noir barrels – from Upright Brewing.