butter

Eritrean Spiced Butter

Tesmi
 

Note: Known in the Tigrinya language as tesmi and in the Ge'ez language as niter kibbeh, this is essentially clarified butter (ghee) cooked with ginger, onion, and spices. Eritreans use it to create richness in sauces such as in spicy tomato (silsi), spicy lentil (ades), chickpea (shiro) and chicken (tsebhi derho). Also try using it instead of butter when making eggs or sautéing vegetables like cabbage, potatoes, and carrots or greens.

Cooking time: 30 min
Makes: 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 inches ginger stalk, grated
  • 1/2 white onion, large dice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp black cardamom seeds, preferrably Aframomum corrorima (optional)

Instructions

1. In a small saute pan, melt butter on medium.

2. Once butter is melted, add other ingredients, turn heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes.

3. Strain contents of pan through a cheese cloth. Discard the solids.

4. Use what you wish of the spiced butter and store extra in fridge for convenient use up to three months.

Clarified Butter

Ghee

Serves: 10
Cooking Time: 30 minutes-1 hour, as you wish
Note: You can buy industrially produced ghee for convenience or make your own. The flavor of your ghee will vary depending on the flavor of cream that was used to make the butter and how long you cook the butter. The longer you simmer it, the stronger and nuttier the flavor. 
Perfect with: Azerbaijani yellow rice, Azerbaijani beef, Indian roti

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter

Equipment

  • small pot
  • serving spoon for skimming
  • cereal bowl

Instructions

1. Put a stick of butter in a pan on medium low. Let cook until the butter turns a clear amber color underneath a thin layer of solids on top. Be careful to not let any solids that drop to the bottom burn by adjusting your heat level a little lower.

2. Let the butter and solids cook for a while on the lowest setting to let the flavor of caramelizing milk solids (on the bottom) enter the fat. Scoop the solids off the top (discard) and pour clear butter into a bowl, not including the solids that sank to the bottom. 

RECIPE FEEDBACK

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Cape Verdean Cod Casserole

Bacalhau Com Natas

As Clarice Pinto and Lucy Pires from Santiago, Cape Verde, taught Lindsay Sterling in Brockton, Massachusetts.

Cooking Time: 1 hour + 24 hours soaking the salt cod
Servings: 10
Note: Recipe adapted slightly to avoid MSG, which was in a couple of pre-prepared spice mixtures they used.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb. salt cod
  • 2 1/2 lb potatoes
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion sliced into 1/4"-thick rounds
  • 1/4 tomato sliced into 1/4"-thick rounds
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, rough chopped including stems and leaves
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • dash chili powder
  • dash sweet paprika
  • dash annatto or achiote powder (optional)
  • 2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch

Instructions

1. The night before cooking, soak the salt cod in water in the fridge over night.

2. At least an hour before you want to eat, peel the potatoes and cut into 1" chunks. Cover with water in a large pot. Put the eggs (shells on) in the water along with the potatoes. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 14 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Take the eggs out and peel them. Strain the potatoes.

3. Preheat the oven to 350. Strain the salt cod.

4. In a large pot with 1/2 cup olive oil in it, saute the onions, tomato, cilantro, red pepper, yellow pepper, and garlic with all the spices (chili powder, paprika, annatto, and white pepper). When onions are soft, add the salt cod. Stir and cook until salt cod breaks down a little bit and turns kind of mushy. Then gently stir in the the potatoes.

5. In medium sauce pan, melt butter, whisk in corn starch, and then whisk in milk and cream. Heat on medium, stirring constantly, until the milk and cream thicken.

6. Spread the sauteed fish-potato mixture evenly in an oven-safe casserole dish. Slice the eggs into 1/4" rounds. Decorate the top of the cod and potato mixture with green olives and cross sections of egg.

7. Pour the thickened milk mixture over the whole thing. Bake for 40 minutes. Broil at the end so the top is slightly browned.

Congolese Mini Waffles

Gaufres

As Ariane Kambu Mbenza from Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, taught Lindsay Sterling in Yarmouth, ME, in May 2013.

Makes: 146 pieces, serving 10-35 people depending on appetite!

Ingredients

  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • spray butter (aka nonstick spray) or oil

Instructions

1. Put flour in bowl of a stand mixer. Cut 1/2 stick of butter into 1/4 inch cubes and melt the rest. Mix cold butter into flour, then mix in warm butter, sugar, and 3 eggs. Mix until incorporated.

2. Add enough milk so the consistency is thick but doesn't completely hold it's shape. Mix until smooth.

3. Heat up waffle iron. Spray the center of each quadrant with spray butter or oil so the waffle doesn't stick to the waffle iron. (You could also brush both sides of the waffle iron with oil).

4. Spoon 1 heaping teaspoon of batter into the center of each quadrant. Spray the top of each mound of batter with spray butter. Close the waffle iron.

5. When waffles are done, pluck them out of the press with a fork and put on a serving tray to cool. Serve straight up or with whipped cream, honey, ice cream, or peanut butter.

Albanian/Greek Chicken Pie

Kotopita

As Bill Dilios, from Politsani, Albania (formerly part of Greece), taught Lindsay Sterling in Freeport, ME.

Serves: 10 for dinner, 20 as an appetizer or side
Cooking Time: 2 hours plus thawing overnight

Ingredients

  • 1 box phyllo dough
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 large yellow or sweet onions, medium dice
  • 1 stick butter, cut into 1/2" chunks + 1 stick butter
  • 4 chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" cubs
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 boullion cube, 1 tsp boullion paste, or 1 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs

Equipment

  • cutting board
  • chef knife
  • mixing spoon
  • large soup pot 
  • large mixing bowl
  • medium bowl
  • pastry brush
  • Bill's special kotopita pan [link to store]:
  • or 3 pie plates
  • or 2 9x12, 2-inch deep baking dishes 

Instructions

1. Thaw phyllo dough. The day before you want to make kotopita, transfer the phyllo dough box from the freezer to the fridge to thaw it. Then an hour before you want to start cooking, take the phyllo box out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature on the counter. If you forget to take the phyllo out of the freezer the night before, you can thaw it on the counter in 2-3 hours. 

2. Make the filling. Saute onions with 2 Tbsp oil and 1 stick butter (cut into chunks) until onions are soft, 5-10 minutes. Cut the chicken pieces into 1/2 inch cubes and add to the onions. Wash all surfaces that raw chicken touched.  When chicken is half-cooked (opaque on the outside but still translucent in the center), add rice and saute for 2 minutes without browning anything. Add chicken stock so that the rice is just floating in liquid, about 3 cups. Add crushed bouillon cube, bouillon paste, or salt as desired and incorporate. Saute, stirring frequently, until the liquid disappears and you have a thick mass of chicken and rice with no runny liquid. Remove from stove and let cool. Mix in three eggs.

3. Preheat oven to 395. 

4. Assemble the pie. See how he did it in this video. You melt a stick of butter in cereal bowl and get a pastry brush out. Bill made one awesome, giant pie in a what looked like an extra-large, deep-dish pizza pan. Alternatively you can use three pie dishes or 2 9x12 baking dishes. Brush the bottom and sides of the baking dish with olive oil. Layer whole phyllo sheets over the bottom of baking dish, overlapping the edges of the pan by roughly 2 inches. (No folding, cutting or fussing!). 

Now be like Jackson Pollock with the butter brush dripping melted butter on the phyllo. You don't need to brush the butter around - just drip enough butter so that it looks like it's starting to rain on a sidewalk. Make another layer of phyllo overlapping the edges again. Drizzle butter again. Layer phyllo again. Drizzle butter again. When you have about five layers of phyllo, make a layer of chicken filling about 1/2" inch deep. Cover with two more layers of phyllo/butter drips. Add another layer of filling about 1/2" deep. Do five more layers of phyllo. Fold all the draped edges of phyllo on top of the pie. Brush butter over the dry edges of phyllo, folding them down onto the pie. 

If you are using multiple pies, when you complete one pie, just follow the same process and make another one in another dish. 

5. Bake for about 40 minutes, turning the temp down to 385 after ten minutes. When the entire pie is golden brown, remove from oven and let the pie cool for 10-20 minutes. 

Bill Dilios teaches how to cook his favorite dish from Politsani, Albania.

6. Serve. A cool trick for cutting the pie: place a large cutting board (one that is bigger than the pie itself) over the top of the pie. Holding the pan and the cutting board together, flip them over so that the pan ends up upside down on top of the cutting board. Now just lift the pan off the pie. Use a serrated bread knife to pie into squares or wedges, depending on what look you want.

Once pie is cool, store leftover pie in tinfoil in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 350 degree oven or toaster oven.