Kitfo, often referred to as Ethiopian steak tartar, is one of my very favorite foods in the world. It was very exciting to try my hand at this very simple dish. The first thing I did was to prepare the cheese that accompanies the meat. Because the meat is so spicy and flavorful, this bland and cooling cheese provides the perfect foil when the two elements are cradled together in a piece of injera.
For cheese: 1 quart of buttermilk (I used low fat, because I do try…), cheese cloth and a bit of quark (or yogurt if you have that already), salt
I poured the buttermilk into a large pan and kept it on low to medium heat for about 25 minutes, then drained it in a cheesecloth, working hard to get all the liquid out. I then placed it under a crate of oranges (though any heavy object will do) for another hour. When I removed it, I wanted a bit of a creamier texture, so I added about a teaspoon of quark, which worked perfectly, then just a dash of salt to bring out the natural flavors. I stuck this in the fridge for the 3 or so hours while I worked on the rest of the dishes, and I actually think the time in the fridge did it a fair amount of good, as it came out of the fridge tasting better than I remembered it going in.
For the kitfo beef, I chose to use a half pound of eye of round. Why eye of round? It was a very cheap, very lean cut. Buying extra lean ground meat would also work well, as would, I’m sure any other lean cut of beef. I chose to hand chop it myself to get the intense texture that comes from hand chopped steak (though B later said he preffered it ground. Oh Well). Then I microwaved (yeah, I’m lazy) 2 tablespoons of nitter kibe (spiced butter, from Zuma, see below) with a heaping teaspoon of berebere. Very important to let it cool after microwaving so that the butter does not cook the meat. Then, as I was serving the meat, I poured the butter/berebere mixture over the meat and mixed it well. Raw beef in all its glory.