#149: Eritrea

On the menu this week? Crow. Kris is eating crow.

The most pretentious sentence I have ever uttered came out of my mouth this weekend… “I lost one of my Swarovski earrings at the polo match yesterday” Yeah, that was literally the single most entitled thing I’ve ever said. To be fair, it was a polo match for cancer charity and the earring was ordered from Amazon for a wedding I was in a while back. It wasn’t the irreplaceable ones I got from Austria for graduation. I wasn’t sure but something about that statement coming from my mouth made me re-calibrate my life a little. It was good to have an out of body experience.  Needless to say I was embarrassed.

THE DINNER: The following day we made food from the little African nation of Eritrea and the blows to my ego kept coming as I realized how food insecurity and poverty so greatly and drastically impacts the food landscape of this country and so many around it. They tend to eat a lot of stews in this part of the nation for many reason– mainly to make the food stretch and also to spend less of their valuable time in the kitchen prepping or preparing meals. Italian influence is felt strongly in the palate of the national dishes because of the settling and ruling of the Italian government over the state for decades. The stew we picked is called Tsebhi Sga which is meat in spiced butter… um, yum!

Tsebhi Sga Recipehttp://www.food.com/recipe/eritrean-ethiopian-beef-stew-tsebhi-sga-or-key-wet-106194

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Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five this meal!
Not a “stew” in the traditional western sense of the term, but that’s not a good or bad distinction in my opinion– more like a friendly heads up that you’re probably following the recipe correct even though it doesn’t look like what you’re used to. No crazy ingredients and no need to translate/convert. We did have to hunt for an additional spiced butter recipe, so that added to the score but wasn’t insane.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR and A QUARTER STARS out of five for Meal!!
There’s a quarter cup of chili paste in this recipe, guys… which basically makes it a 100% win in L’s book (and mine). The spiced butter added a depth of flavor that was unexpected. It was more than “buttery” it was more like velvety. We served it with Kale salad as is traditional to the area. The problem we ran into was the lack of salt. We got to have some basic cooking steps here, one of which is seasoning the meat properly whether you’re grilling or baking. It’s important otherwise you run into bland flavor profiles which is what kept this from a 5 star rating.

Polo matches and Maserati’s aside, while I head to the sunny shores of the Gulf of Mexico for some much needed R&R next week, L will be taking on Djibouti for #150!

Peace, love and lost earrings,
– L & K

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