Autumn may trigger pumpkin spice cravings in most folks, but for me? Not so much. I yearn instead for hearty Ethiopian fare. It’s not just because I’m contrary by nature, like my mom. (I know you’re shaking your head, mom, but it’s true.) As longtime readers know from my Doro Wat recipe post, I fell in love with Ethiopian cuisine during my first semester in college. Naturally, the return of crisp, fall weather always stirs up memories of chowing on comforting stews at my favorite Ethiopian joints in Berkeley.
In other words, I’m feeling old and wistful about my glory days.
Thankfully, to scratch that nostalgic itch, I can turn to my review copy of Chef Peter Servold’s Paleo By Season. For those of you who don’t know Pete, he’s the classically trained chef behind Pete’s Paleo, a fantastic Paleo meal service that ships all over the U.S. Like all the best chefs, Peter knows that the quality of a dish hinges on the use of fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients. And in his beautiful cookbook, Pete groups his recipes by season (hence the title!) so that readers can cook the best of the available bounty.
Flipping through the “Fall” section of Pete’s cookbook, I yelped. I’d discovered not one, but three Ethiopian recipes. My favorite of this trio happens to be the simplest: Atkilt, a humble spiced root vegetable stew. I’d tinkered with my own recipe in the past, but I never quite nailed the flavor combination—and my attempts sometimes came out overly mushy, too.
Thankfully, early in his career, Pete worked at an Ethiopian restaurant—and not surprisingly, his version of Atkilt is spot-on. I was instantly transported back to my days as a wide-eyed freshman at Cal. All that was missing was my dorky tie-dyed leggings, jangly Telegraph Avenue jewelry, and cockroach-kickin’ Doc Martens boots.
Ready to check out Pete’s recipe?
Here’s what to gather to serve 4-6 people as a side dish:
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 small green cabbage (1 pound), cored and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 4 medium carrots (1 pound), cut into 1-inch rounds
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1¾ pounds white potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes (you can substitute cauliflower florets if you don’t eat potatoes—but hey, did you hear that potatoes are now Whole30-approved?)
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Here’s what you do:
Heat the ghee and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
While the fat is heating, prep all the veggies.
(Or, if you’re a slow chopper like me, you can finish slicing your vegetables before you heat up the fat in the pot. Not all of us are Le Cordon Bleu-trained chefs, people.)
Once the saucepan is hot, add the onions, cabbage, carrots…
…and 2 teaspoons of the salt.
Give everything a good stir and then cover the pot. Cook the vegetables undisturbed for 10 minutes. (If your stove runs hot, you can turn down the heat to medium.)
After the 10 minutes have elapsed…
…toss in the potatoes (or cauliflower)…
…and the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, turmeric, and cumin.
Add some freshly ground black pepper and stir well.
Replace the lid, decrease the heat to medium-low, and continue cooking for an additional 30 minutes or until all vegetables are fork-tender. (Using cauliflower? Check for tenderness after 15 minutes.)
It’s Paleo comfort food with an east African spin!
Thanks, Pete, for bringing me back half a lifetime ago, before I had to worry about feeding a family or paying down the mortgage. Ah, youth.
If you don’t have Paleo By Season yet, snag your own copy here!
Looking for recipes and resources? Head on over to my Recipe Index or my Resources page. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPad® app, and in my cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel, December 2013).2