GRILLED BUTTERFLIED PORK LOIN WITH BERBERE

GRILLED BUTTERFLIED PORK LOIN WITH BERBERE (Ethiopian spice paste, for four)

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Chris Schlesinger calls berbere the ketchup of Ethiopia. This cooking staple is used as a rub for meats, as a dip for kifta, or raw beef, as a spread for injera, a traditional bread, and as a seasoning for watts, or stews.

a butterflied pork loin

For the berbere (about 1 cup):

1 teaspoon powdered ginger

1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (use 1 teaspoon for milder spice)

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 tablespoon star anise, crushed

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds, crushed (optional)

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice

2 tablespoons cayenne pepper (use 1 teaspoon, or less, for milder spice)

1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper

2 tablespoons salt

½ cup paprika

½ cup dry red wine

4 tablespoons peanut oil

¼ cup fresh orange juice


1. Make the berbere. Combine all the dry spices, from ginger through paprika, in a bowl and mix well.

2. In a large sauté pan, cook the combined spices over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until they are heated through completely.

3. Add the red wine to the spice mixture and cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until a uniform paste is formed.

4. Remove the spice paste from the heat and allow it to cool. Add the peanut oil and orange juice and mix well. The paste should be the consistency of wet sand.

5. Rub the pork with the berbere and place in a large, heavy-duty, resealable plastic bag (if you are doing larger quantities, divide between 2 or more bags). Seal the bags, pressing out the excess air, and marinate, refrigerated, at least 2 hours. Bring meat to room temperature 30 minutes before grilling.

6. Prepare the grill for cooking. If using a charcoal grill, open the vents in the bottom of the grill, then light the charcoal. When charcoal turns grayish white (about 15 minutes after lighting) hold your hand 5 inches above the grill rack. Fire is medium-hot when you can hold your hand there for just 3 to 4 seconds. If using a gas grill, preheat it on high, covered, for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to moderate.

7. Lightly oil the grill rack. Drain the pork, leaving some marinade clinging. Grill pork on one side for 5 minutes, turn, and grill on other side for 5 minutes. Put the lid on grill, leaving it slightly ajar (so that the coals don’t die out) and continue cooking 10 minutes more, for a total of 20 minutes. (Cover the grill completely if flare-ups occur). Remove and let stand, loosely tented with aluminum foil, 20 minutes before cutting.

adapted from Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby, The Thrill of the Grill

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