Spice Exploration

Berbere Roasted Chicken Pizza and Berbere BBQ Sauce

Makes 2 (8"-10") round pizzas

For the pizza dough:
Yield: makes 2 (8"-10") round pizzas or 1 (18x13) pan pizza (full size baking sheet)

  • 1¼ cups lukewarm water (100º F)
  • 1 packet (2½ teaspoons) dry active yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups high gluten flour (bread flour)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

1. Combine water and yeast in a small bowl and whisk to dissolve.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the salt, flours and olive oil, and mix well. With the mixer running, add the water and yeast to the bowl. Mix on low for two minutes, then turn to medium and mix three to four minutes more, or until the mixture forms a smooth ball.

3. Transfer the dough to a large bowl that has been lightly greased with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and set aside on the countertop for 45 minutes.

4. Remove the dough from the bowl to a floured work surface. Punch the dough down by flouring your hands, making a fist and pressing the air out of the dough. Divide dough into two pieces. Roll the two pieces into a ball under the palm of your hand. Then roll into a flat disc with a rolling pin. Then gently stretch the dough by hand it’s between 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick.

5. Dough can be reserved in tightly wrapped plastic and refrigerated for up to three days.

For the Berbere BBQ sauce:

  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon berbere spice

1. In a medium bowl, combine ingredients and whisk until evenly mixed. Reserve for preparing the pizza.

For the berbere roasted chicken:

  • 1 tablespoon berbere spice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 2 3½- to 5-pound whole chickens ("roaster" size)
  • Olive or vegetable oil, as needed
  • 1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups minced yellow onions

1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.

2. To make the seasoning mixture, combine the berbere spice, salt and sugar in a small bowl and mix well.

3. Lightly coat the chickens with oil, then sprinkle generously with the seasoning mixture.

4. Combine the tomatoes, garlic and onions in a large roasting pan and place the two chickens on top, breast-side up. Roast for about 45 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 160° F (as the chicken rests, the temperature will rise to 165° F). Transfer the chicken to a large carving board to rest.

5. In a medium pot, combine the brown sugar and vinegar. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Once the sugar is dissolved, simmer five minutes to reduce the liquid by approximately half. Add the tomato mixture from the roasting pan to pot and simmer 10 minutes more. Add the berbere spice and puree with a hand blender or transfer to a blender to process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reserve the chicken and sauce separately and prepare pizza using the steps below.

To prepare the pizza: 

1. Preheat oven to 500 °F (or as high as your oven temperature goes).

2. Spread a base of berbere BBQ sauce over stretched pizza dough.

3. Top with shredded chicken, mozzarella and cheddar cheese.

4. Bake for six to eight minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown. Remove pizza from oven and let it cool for two to three minutes. Top pizza with dressed arugula and serve. 

5. Repeat with remaining dough. 

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Za'atar and Sumac-Yogurt Dressing

Makes 4-6 servings

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes (about 3 pounds)
  • 2 medium red onions, cut into wedges
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons za’atar
  • toasted walnuts for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. Wash and peel sweet potatoes, and cut lengthwise into wedges. Peel and cut red onions into wedges. Transfer all into a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, kosher salt, crushed black pepper, za'atar and gently toss to evenly distribute. Transfer onto your prepared baking sheet and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until browned on the edges and tender inside (pierce one piece with a fork to test).

For the Sumac Dressing:

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons sumac
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
  • 1 cup full-fat greek yogurt
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed.

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cardamom Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 pork tenderloin, fat trimmed
  • 4 garlic cloves, skin on
  • 6 branches fresh thyme
  • 3-4 whole cardamom pods
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • canola oil, as needed

1. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Place a large sauté pan over medium heat and add a thin film of canola oil. Allow the oil to heat for three minutes before adding the meat.

2. Pat the pork dry and place in the pan skin-side down. Without moving or flipping the pork, until the first side is well browned. Turn and cook until browned on each side. Maintain the heat carefully: If the edges of the pan begin to smoke, reduce the heat.

3. Add the garlic cloves, thyme and cardamom. Roll the meat around to expose all sides to the aromatics. Turn the heat to low and add the butter. Using a spoon, swirl the butter around the pan and baste the pork with butter as the aromatics infuse in the mixture. Continue basting and turning the meat until it reaches an internal temperature of 150˚F.

4. Remove the meat to rack to rest. The temperature should rise to 155˚F before serving. Slice and serve.

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