RECIPES: Cooking With Marcus Samuelsson

Marcus Samuelsson's signature dishes from Merkato 55.

April 11, 2008 — -- Merkato 55, chef Marcus Samuelsson's newest restaurant, features several dishes inspired by his travels throughout Africa. Below, find the recipes for two of his signature meals: shrimp piri piri and doro wett.


Recipe courtesy Marcus Samuelsson

Makes 4 servings as an appetizer

12 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons Piri Piri, divided

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

1 lime, quartered

12 Bibb lettuce leaves


Toss the shrimp with ½ cup of the piri piri in a large bowl. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until opaque throughout. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with the salt. Squeeze the lime quarters over the shrimp.

Spread ½ teaspoon of the remaining piri piri sauce on each lettuce leaf. Place a shrimp on each leaf and fold over bottom and sides to form a wrap. Serve immediately.

PIRI PIRIRecipe courtesy Marcus Samuelsson

Makes 1 cup

8 red bird's-eye chilies, seeds and ribs removed, chopped

½ cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

2 garlic cloves

½ cup olive oil


Combine the chilies, lemon juice, cilantro, parsley, and garlic in a blender and puree until smooth. With the blender running add the oil in a slow, steady stream and bland until well combined.

Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

CHICKEN STEW (DORO WETT)Recipe courtesy Marcus Samuelsson

Makes 6 Servings

2 medium red onions, diced


¼ cup Spiced Butter or 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, divided

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom, preferably freshly ground

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 cloves

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

One 1 ½-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon Berbere or chili powder

2 ½ cups chicken stock, divided

One 4- to 5-pound chicken, cut into 10 pieces, wings reserved for another use

¼ cup dry red wine

Juice of 1 lime

2 hard-boiled eggs


Combine the onions, a pinch of salt, and half of the spiced butter in a Dutch oven or other large deep pot over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden, about 15 minutes. Add the remaining butter, the cardamom, black pepper, cloves, garlic, ginger, and berbere and cook until the onions soften and take on the color of the spices, about 10 minutes.

Add 2 cups of the chicken stock and the chicken legs and thighs, bring to a simmer, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the remaining ½ cup chicken stock and the wine, bring back to a simmer, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chicken breasts and simmer for 20 minutes.

Gently stir in the lime juice and eggs and simmer for another 5 minutes. The sauce will be loose and soupy. Season with salt to taste.

Serve with Lentil stew

SPICED BUTTERRecipe courtesy Marcus Samuelsson

Makes 1 ½ cups

1 pound unsalted butter

½ medium red onion, coarsely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

One 3-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon cardamom seeds

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

8 basil leaves


Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. As foam rises to the top, skim and discard it. Continue cooking, without letting butter brown, until no more foam appears. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, fenugreek, cumin, cardamom, oregano, turmeric, and basil and continue cooking for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from the heat and let stand until the spices settle. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve before using.

Store in the refrigerator in a tightly covered container for up to 3 weeks.


Recipe courtesy Marcus Samuelsson

Makes 1 cup

1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

½ cup ground dried Serrano chilies or other ground dried chilies

½ cup paprika

2 tablespoons salt

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon ground cardamom, preferably freshly ground

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

Finely grind the fenugreek seeds with a mortar and pestle or in an electric spice or coffee grinder. Stir together with the remaining ingredients in a small bowl until well combined.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.