Berbere Roasted Carrots & Fennel with Oranges

This side starts as something very familiar--roasted vegetables. But the berbere makes the sweet carrots and fennel taste earthier and the orange gives the dish a sprightly edge. Two little changes, but so much complexity. When you drive through Ethiopia, you will see women on the roadsides selling chiles, ginger, and garlic. Others sell spices--coriander, fenugreek, allspice, cardamom. These are some of the ingredients you need to make berbere, the spice mix that permeates every aspect of Ethiopian food. It is a deep red, the color of red clay. It's not a fiery mix. Cooked long and slow, berbere is earthy; added later, it can be lively and bright. When I discovered it, I couldn't wait to begin playing with it. I hope you will, too.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 45 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

Berbere:

Directions

  1. Heat the oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fennel and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat, then add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and cook until the vegetables soften and start to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the orange juice and berbere. Toss to combine and turn the heat to low. Add the orange segments and mint.
  2. Transfer the vegetables to a serving bowl and top additional berbere and mint leaves.

Berbere:

Yield: Makes about 3/4 cup.
  1. Put the coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, peppercorns, cardamom pods, cloves and allspice berries into a small skillet over medium heat. Toast, swirling the skillet, until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Pour the seeds into a spice grinder and cool. Add the onion flakes and chiles de arbol. Grind to a fine powder. Transfer the spice powder to a bowl and whisk in the paprika, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Store in a sealed jar, out of the light, for up to 6 months.

Cook’s Note

Alternatively, you can roast the carrots and fennel with the olive oil, berbere, salt and pepper on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet in a 400 degrees F oven, turning once, until you can pierce them easily with a knife, 25 to 30 minutes. Right before serving, toss in the orange segments and juice and the mint.

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