1 (2 pound) top round, sliced 1/2 inch thick, cut into 4 pieces
fresh ground pepper
6 whole black peppercorns
4 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 small bay leaf
1/2 cup finely chopped
1 whole clove
1 teaspoon paprika
2 cups water
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon Madeira
In a bowl combine 3 tablespoons of the flour with the pepper. Dip the pieces
of beef in the flour one at a time. Shake off excess flour.
In a heavy skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over high heat. Add the beef
and brown on both sides. Transfer meat to a platter.
Add remaining butter to skillet and add onions. Cook until onions are soft and
Add paprika, peppercorns, allspice, bay leaf and clove. Add the
water and bring to a boil, scraping the brown sediment on the bottom of the skillet.
Return the beef to the skillet, turn heat to low and cover tightly. Simmer for approximately
1 1/2 to 2 hours, basting meat occasionally.
When beef is tender, transfer to platter and keep warm.
Strain the cooking liquids
through a sieve into a bowl. Press hard on the onions with the back of a wooden
spoon to get all the juice and flavor. Discard. If you have less then 2 cups of
liquid in the bowl, add some beef broth. If you have more than 2 cups, boil briskly
until reduced to 2 cups (this is important).
Return liquid to skillet, bring to a simmer over high heat then reduce to low.
With a whisk, beat the remaining flour into the sour cream. Slowly whisk the sour
cream into the simmering liquid a few tablespoons at a time. Cook, whisking constantly
until the sauce is hot and slightly thickened. Do not let it boil as the sour cream
will curdle. Return the beef to the skillet and baste with the sauce. Cook just
long enough to thoroughly heat the meat.