A five-ingredient stew that takes like it has 500—it's that complex, that spiced, that satisfying. The secret is berbere, an Ethiopian spice you can find at most spice shops or online. It's made up of usually around 12 different spices, and though every blend is a little different, you'll always taste paprika, fenugreek, and dried chiles. Here's a recipe if you'd like to make your own: http://www.saveur.com/article...
While you could use beef chuck instead of the more-expensive, more-tender short ribs, one of the beauties of this stew is the softness of a bite, the beef nearly falling apart so that it becomes part of the sauce.
Serve with focaccia, as I had it in Rome at Trapizzino, or injera. —Ali Slagle
boneless short ribs, cut into 1-inch cubes
Heat the oven to 350°F. Season the beef with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot with a lid, coat the bottom with oil and heat over medium-high heat. Brown the beef on two sides, in batches so as not to crowd the pan. Transfer the beef to a bowl, but don’t wash out the pot. Reduce the heat to medium.
Add more olive oil if you don’t have much fat in the bottom of the pot. Add the onion, scraping up the browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot, and sauté until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the berbere, give it a stir, and let cook until fragrant, just a minute.
Stir in the meat and its collected juices, the tomato sauce, a pinch of salt, and 2 cups of water, cover, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, slide the covered pot into the oven and cook until the meat is tender and the stew is thick, about 1 1/2 hours.