A hearty braise is perfect comfort food. Fresh herbs and flavorful liquids, combined with long, slow cooking, transform inexpensive cuts of beef and humble vegetables into a rich and filling one-pot dinner. Although it may not be quick, it couldn't be easier.
To make the rich, brown sauce that is key to the flavor of this dish, it is important not to rush the initial searing of the meat. To make peeling the pearl onions easier, soak them first in warm water for 15 minutes.
Slavic peasants created this stew using three basic ingredients: equal parts beef and onions, and a healthy dose of paprika. Whether you use sweet or spicy Hungarian paprika, it should be fresh, with a pungent aroma.
The secret to this Chinese version of beef stew, brought to us by Martha's friend Lily Mei, is to cook the meat three times. It's first boiled, then sauteed in a hot wok, and finally simmered until tender.