The New Best Recipe
3 pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes (or stew meat)
Salt and Ground Black Pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil or bacon fat
3 medium-large onions, chopped coarse
6 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
5 tablespoons sweet paprika
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
3 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped coarse
1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped coarse
1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
1/4 cup parsley (optional)
1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Dry the beef thoroughly with paper towels, then season it generously with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large ovenproof Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half of the meat so that the individual pieces are close together but not touching. Cook, not moving the pieces until the sides touching the pot are well browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, turn each piece and continue cooking until most sides are well browned, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer the beef to a medium bowl, add another 1 tablespoon of the oil to the pot, and swirl to coat the pan bottom. Brown the remaining beef; transfer the meat to the bowl and set aside.
2. Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the now-empty Dutch oven, and swirl to coat the pan bottom. Add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently and vigorously, scraping the pot bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen the browned bits, until the onions have softened and browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the paprika and arrowroot and stir until the onions are evenly coated and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the broth, scraping the pot bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen the remaining browned bits and stirring until the arrowroot is incorporated and the liquid thickened. Gradually add the remaining 1 1/2 cups broth, stirring constantly and scraping the pan edges to dissolve the arrowroot. Stir in the tomato paste, bay leaves, marjoram, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Add the browned beef and accumulated juices, stir to blend, and submerge the meat under the liquid. Increase the heat to medium, bring to a simmer, cover the pot, and place it in the oven. Cook for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
4. Remove the pot from the oven and stir in the red and green peppers. Cover and return the pot to the oven. Cook until the meat is just tender, about 40 minutes. Remove the pot from the oven. If serving immediately, spoon off the fat that rises to the top. (The stew can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Spoon off the congealed fat and bring the stew back to a simmer over medium-low heat).
5. If using the sour cream, place it in a medium bowl and stir in 1/2 cup of the hot stewing liquid. Stir in the sour cream mixture back into the stew. Stir in the parsley, if using, discard the bay leaves, and season with slat and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.