2) Heat a large casserole pot with a tight-fitting lid over high heat. Pour in enough oil to reach about 1cm up the sides. Add half of the beef and cook, uncovered, for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until well-browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a plate, leaving the oil in the pot. Repeat with the remaining beef. Drain the oil and wipe out the pan.
3) Preheat the oven to 140C/Gas 1. Return the pot to medium-high heat, and add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Saute the onion for about 5 minutes, stirring, until lightly browned.
4) Add the garlic, paprika, and caraway and cook for a minute, stirring, until fragrant.
5) Add the tomatoes and simmer for a further 2 minutes, stirring, until thickened.
6) Add the beef and water, cover, and bring to the boil. Using a piece of kitchen twine, tie together the parsley, thyme, and bay leaf and add to the pot.
7) Cover the pot, place in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours, until beef is tender.
8) Remove from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes. Skim the fat from the surface of cooking liquid with a ladle. Bring to a simmer, uncovered, on top of the stove, for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid has thickened.
9) Stir in the sour cream and continue to simmer for a further 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced to a sauce-like consistency and the beef is very tender.
10) Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon salt and season with pepper to taste. Remove and discard the herb bundle.
11) Divide among bowls and serve with buttered egg noodles with parsley. Hand a jug of sour cream at the table.
Cook's Note: Beef chuck steak is a good choice for any type of stew. Alternatively, look for braising steak in your supermarket.
For the buttered egg noodles with parsley:
1) Boil a large pot of water t and salt generously. Add the noodles and cook until al dente, tender but not mushy.
2) Meanwhile, put a soup ladle full of the noodle cooking water into a medium frying pan. Set the pan over low heat and, while whisking constantly, gradually add the butter, piece by piece. Let each piece of butter melt into the sauce before adding the next bit, until a smooth sauce has formed.
3) Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the lemon zest if desired.
4) Drain the noodles in a colander and leave whatever water clings to them--do not rinse.
5) Transfer the noodles to a large bowl, add the sauce, and toss until well-coated. Serve.