Gomen Besiga: Ethiopian Collard Greens with Lamb

With a dinner party planned and about eight pounds of Portuguese kale waiting to be harvested from my garden, I couldn’t wait to make Gomen Besiga. Our variety of kale is very similar to the collard greens in this dish, but the leaves are much larger and have less ribs, which make them much so much easier to clean and process. Yay!

So what is Gomen Besiga? It’s an Ethiopian dish that hits the soul-food spot with its spicy braised greens and lamb instead of ham hock. The dish is wonderful served on its own over injera or even better with a few side dishes. If you don't know where to get some of these ingredients, check out my previous blog post on how to acquire them. 

We served our Gomen Besiga to our happy guests with Doro Wot (a spicy chicken stew), Kik Alicha (yellow split peas), and a side salad with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, serrano peppers, danish white cheese, and Italian dressing. We ate every bite on our plates  because it was so delicious! Somehow we saved room for dessert and had a little honey wine and baklava. How perfect is that for a dinner party?

So if you’re wanting to throw a party yourself, but say you desire less meat, consider other recipes from my blog as well. All can be made vegan without altering the amazing good flavor, including mesir wot (the vegetarian version of doro wot) and gomen (the vegetarian version of gomen besiga). 

Gomen Besiga: Ethiopian Collard Greens with Lamb

Time: 1 Hour
Serves 4

2 lbs collard greens or kale, rinsed and chopped
1 cup yellow onions, chopped
¼ cup niter Kibbeh
½ tsp nigella seeds
1 tbsp ginger, minced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb boneless leg of lamb, cubed into ½ inch pieces
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
4 to 6 serrano peppers (less for mild), chopped
4 medium scallions, chopped
¼ tsp berbere
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp fenugreek or methi leaves

Injera, to serve

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, add collard greens and wilt over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In another large skillet or Dutch oven, heat niter kibbeh over medium-high heat. Add onions and nigella seeds and sauté until onions are soft, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and ginger, and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Increase heat to medium-high, add lamb, season with salt and pepper, and stir until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add reserved collard greens, bell peppers, serranos, scallions, berbere, turmeric, and fenugreek and stir. Then add 1.5 cups hot water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cover partially with a lid, stirring occasionally for about 40-45 minutes, until water is fully absorbed and greens are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve over injera! 



Lamb Stew with Kidney Beans, Fenugreek, and Green Onions (Gormeh Sabzi)


It’s been a while since my last post, and that’s because I was off the grid on vacation in Central America and wasn’t cooking a darned thing!

Now that Adrian and I are back from our Panamanian adventures, we’re super ready to cook up some amazing meals. For our first home-cooked dish, we were craving some serious comfort food. For us, comfort food is this lamb stew, the recipe being passed down from Adrian’s dad’s side of the family. Adrian’s aunt taught us how to make a few of his grandma’s stews, and we are forever indebted to her for that, because his grandma was an amazing home chef. According to Adrian’s dad, we make her food just right, which is a very very nice compliment coming from him and considering the talents of his mother.

I can see some readers pondering this dish and wondering if it can be made with beef instead, and it can! I’ve also heard that chicken fares well too. As an additional tip: Fenugreek can be purchased easily online if you don’t have it already. It’s a necessary ingredient to bring everything together: it’s mapley and imbues the lamb with wonderful flavor. Lastly, if you like beef stew or any other lamb stew, this will top them all. It’s even a little healthier with the beans and all of the herbs. So go ahead and make this one! Then let me know what you think.


Lamb Stew with Kidney Beans, Fenugreek, and Green Onions (Gormeh Sabzi)

Time: 1 Hour
Serves: 4

3/4 cup canola oil, divided
1 medium-large onion, sliced thin
1 lb lamb leg or lamb stew meat
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. turmeric
2 bunches green onions, chopped
1 Tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves
1 large bunch parsley, finely chopped
1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Steamed basmati rice, to serve

Sabzi (Herb & Vegetable platter)
1 bunch radishes
1 bunch tarragon
1 small bunch green onions
1 bunch mint

Heat 1/2 cup canola oil in a large pan or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions, sautéing them until golden-brown, about 6-8 minutes. Add lamb, salt, pepper, and turmeric. Stir the ingredients and keep on high heat until the lamb is a pinkish brown. Then cover the mixture with water, a little below lamb level. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer on medium-low heat for 30 minutes. Cover with lid.

While the lamb mixture is simmering, heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a small frying pan. Add green onions and fry until the oil has coated the green onions generously, but do not let get too soft, about 1 minute. Add to the pot with the lamb mixture when done and replace lid while pot is still boiling.

In the same frying pan, sauté parsley for about 2-3 minutes, until soft. Remove from heat and add 1 tablespoon of dried fenugreek, stir, and add to lamb mixture and replace lid. Keep on medium-low heat for 10 minutes.

Once the lamb-mixture has cooked for ten minutes (or until the lamb is tender to taste), remove the lid and add kidney beans and lemon juice to the pot and keep on medium-low heat for ten minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Serve over rice with a platter of radishes and herbs.



Shepherd’s Pie with Steamed Cabbage


Sometimes Mondays are rough and you just need some comfort food to keep you going. This shepherd’s pie with steamed cabbage certainly meets that criteria and we really needed it today with all of our unexpected last-minute changes in our vacation planning.

Now, shepherd’s pie might look a little heavy, but I still consider it healthy to eat on occasion because it’s balanced with carbs, protein, and fat, and is still packed with tons of nutrients from the vegetables and meat. Plus, I mostly look forward to the steamed cabbage when we eat this meal. We steam ours in our rice cooker, but you can steam yours however you please! Sooooo good!


Shepherd’s Pie with Steamed Cabbage

Time: 1 Hour
Serves 6

Mashed Potato Topping
2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
2 egg yolks
Heavy cream, ¼ cup
4 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
Parmesan, 1/2 cup grated
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

1 large onion, quartered
1 large carrot, cut into 2-inch chunks
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1.5lb ground lamb, beef, or elk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 small bunch, fresh thyme leaves
3 large rosemary sprigs, needles finely chopped
1 cup red wine
1 cup chicken stock
Green Cabbage, 1 large head, quartered and steamed (optional)

Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add potatoes and boil for 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender. Drain. Gently mash the potatoes with egg yolks, heavy cream, butter, and 1/4 cup parmesan. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside and keep warm.

Prepare your mirepoix by finely grating your onion, carrot, and garlic in a food processor. Set aside.

While the potatoes cook, heat oil in a deep oven proof skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add ground lamb, and stir until browned and broken into small pieces, about 8 minutes. Drain the fat and season with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 400F.

Return skillet to the burner over medium-high heat and add mirepox. Stir occasionally for about 5 minutes to cook down the vegetables. Then add tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce and stir. Add herbs and wine and stir for another 2 minutes. Add chicken stock and cook about 5-10 minutes, or until filling has soaked up most of the liquid.

In your oven-safe skillet, top filling with mashed potatoes and spread out with a spatula. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top. Fluff the potatoes with a fork to give them a peaked look. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are browned and your pie is sizzling! Serve with a side of steamed cabbage and enjoy!