Marcus Samuelsson’s Ethiopian Stew

Ethiopia. As a child of the 80’s the most I knew about this diverse country in Africa was its famine. And the (somewhat cheesy… especially as viewed today) massively publicized “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” song and video recorded originally in 1984 by BandAid. It ultimately raised 14 million dollars for Ethiopia which is pretty respectable and seriously, I was (am) a huge fan of the likes of Bono, George Michael, Simon LeBon, Sting and the others. So this is where I started…

Needless to say, I never thought until recently about Ethiopia, especially in terms of its cuisine. I will try to be brief in explaining how I got from there to here, so you’ll stick with me to the really important part, which today is not so much about the recipe. If you look under “What I Read” in my right sidebar, you’ll notice the name Jen Hatmaker. She’s funny. She writes about her family, her faith, and social issues. I’ve been reading her blog for over a year, which lead me to reading her book 7 (which examines our extreme consumerism), learning about her family adopting two children from Ethiopia, and most recently her visit as a blogger to Haiti and the country’s still enormous poverty. Funny? No, obviously not these issues. But holding up my own extreme comfort to another’s extreme poverty can be uncomfortable to say the least. Laughter can make it easier to be humble.

In the meantime, a dear friend of mine Lacy Watson and her family have just begun their own adoption process. Let me introduce you…

Hi! We’re the Watson Family. I’m Lacy, pictured here with my husband Carey (who is a surgical resident at University Hospital in Cincinnati), our daughter Aisley and son Hayes. We’re on the journey of a life time as we attempt to raise two kiddos and adopt another from Ethiopia. Ethiopia has about five million orphans due to extreme poverty, lack of medical care, and insufficient education. We began hearing about the crisis in Ethiopia a year ago, and our hearts broke more and more each time we were exposed. According to our life plans, we weren’t ready to adopt, but once our eyes were opened, we couldn’t turn away. It became evident that God was leading us on our adoption journey and we would just have to pencil it into our plans! Our biggest challenges are financing the $36,000 adoption and clearing our 1st Ethiopian court date before my husband begins his final training years as a surgical resident in July of 2014. To help with expenses we began creating and selling these fabulous adoption bracelets:

They come with a card thanking you for your purchase and letting your gift recipient know our story. We sell them on Etsy, and 100% of the cost goes toward bringing our son or daughter home. These make great stocking stuffers! 
If you are interested in tracking our journey and learning more about how we got here, please visit our blog, Wayward Watsons. Thanks so much!

I try to help my friends when I can. I felt particularly led to help Lacy and her family because as my audience grows here on my blog, I can hopefully send some of that support their way to help them reach their goal more quickly. Because while I greatly admire and even share their faith that God is leading them on this journey, and I know in my heart how they are literally going to change a life, I’m not sure I could make such a lifetime commitment. But with their huge hearts they are.

So this stew. It is a recipe from Marcus Samuelsson. You may have heard of him. He currently owns Red Rooster in Harlem. He’s a James Beard award-winning chef, was a contestant on the Food Network’s 2011 “The Next Iron Chef”, and has written a best-selling autobiography called Yes, Chef (which I am currently reading and very much enjoying). He and his sister also happen to have been born in Ethiopia. Their birth mother, stricken with tuberculosis, managed to walk many miles to a hospital. She did not make it, but Marcus and his sister were adopted by a loving Swedish family and Marcus first learned to cook from his Swedish grandmother.

He recently wrote an article about Ethiopia and its distinctive flavors for Cooking Light. He shares seven recipes, one of which is this Lentil-Edamame Stew. It’s simple, delicious and healthy. A welcome respite from all the heavy-laden holiday treats. Buy a bracelet, make this stew, and see if your heart feels a little lighter this season.

Lentil-Edamame Stew
1 c. dried lentils
3/4 c. frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans)
2 T. olive oil
1 1/2 c. red onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
6 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. chopped fresh parsley
1 T. chopped fresh mint
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/8 t. ground red pepper
1/8 t. ground cinnamon
Dash of ground cloves

Place lentils in a large saucepan; cover with water to 2 inches above lentils. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until tender. Drain well, and set aside.

Place edamame in a small saucepan; cover with water to 2 inches above edamame. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes or until edamame are tender. Remove from heat; drain well.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and tomatoes to pan; sauté 6 minutes or until onion is translucent, stirring often. Stir in lentils, edamame, juice, and remaining ingredients. Cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring often. Serve with flat bread.