Melt the lard or butter in a Dutch oven over medium high heat and cook the onions until beginning to brown, about 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the paprika. Add the beef and garlic, return to the heat, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the beef is no longer pink.
Add the bell peppers and cook for another 7-8 minutes. Add the carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, beef broth, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 40 minutes (see note). Add salt to taste.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream, some crusty bread, and a cool cucumber salad.
If you're using a tougher cut of beef like chuck or round, cook the beef first, without the carrots, tomatoes, potatoes and bell peppers, for 30-45 minutes, then add the vegetables and cook for another 40 minutes until the beef is tender. A well-marbled cut like chuck will produce the most flavor while a leaner cut will cook faster. Your choice.