Messer Wot, an Ethiopian Recipe


2 Red onions finely minced
2 tablespoon fresh garlic finely minced
1/2 cup olive oil
4 cups of water
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup Berbere
1 lbs of organic split lentils



Wash split lentils in hot water, until the water is clear, drain and soak the lentils for 30 minutes.
Chop the onions by hand into small even pieces and finely mince the garlic.


In a heavy enamel or iron stew pot, sweat the onions over moderate heat for about 5 minutes with the lid closed, until the onions are
translucent by adding hot water as needed. The onions sauce should be moist.
Add 1/3 cup of hot water and continue to cook the onions with the lid closed, making sure the onions do not change color or burn, cook
for another 5 minutes or until the water evaporates. Add another 1/3 cup of hot water and continue to cook.
Add 2 tbs of olive oil , to caramelize the onions over mid-high heat,  roast the onions until brown, without burning them for 2 minutes.
Add 1/3 cup of hot water, and cook for 2 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup of Berbere and continue to roast the berbere and the onions (if the sauce is too dry, add another 1 tbs of olive oil),
continue to brown for about 10 minutes. The roasting of the Berbere and onions is what gives the souce a deep brown color and strong flavor.
If the sauce dries up, continue to add hot water to keep it moist.
Add 2 cups of hot water, the minced garlic, 1 tsp cardamom, 1 tsp of black pepper, and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup of olive oil and cook for 3 minutes.
Add 2 cups of the soaked lentils, stirring to make sure the lentils are mixed well with the sauce, cook for 3 minutes, or 
until the lentils come to a full boil, cook the lentils for another 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer.
(add this point you can add 1/3 cup of red wine, dark beer or hot water)
The liquid should cover the lentils completely.
Continue to cook until the lentils are soft. The sauce must be thick but not watery.
Add salt to taste and simmer for 2 minutes.

The sauce can be left out over night, do not refrigerate the sauce while hot.

Serves 6-8 people