Muffin-topped winter beef stew

Muffin-topped winter beef stew

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(130 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 2 hrs, 30 mins


Serves 2 adults and 2-3 children
Muffin on stew? You’d better believe it – think of it as a lighter alternative to suet dumplings

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per adult serving

  • kcal847
  • fat39g
  • saturates14g
  • carbs82g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre10g
  • protein46g
  • salt2.81g
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For the stew

  • 500g braising steak, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with pepper and a little salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 450g carrot, cut into chunks



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 2 large parsnip, cut into chunks



    The fact that the parsnip is a member of the carrot family comes as no surprise - it looks just…

  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp sundried or regular tomato paste
  • 300ml red wine or extra stock
  • 450ml vegetable stock

For the topping

  • 225g plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder

    Baking powder

    bay-king pow-dah

    Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

  • 140g cheddar, coarsely grated



    Once cheddar was 'Cheddar', a large, hard-pressed barrel of cheese made by a particular…

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 150ml milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…


  1. Heat oven to 150C/fan 130C/gas 2. Toss the beef in seasoned flour. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole. Fry the beef over a high heat until browned all over – it’s easiest to do this in batches. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

  2. Add 2 tbsp water and the onion to the pan, stir well over a medium heat, scraping up the crusty bits from the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat and fry gently for 10 mins, stirring occasionally until the onions have softened.

  3. Tip in the carrots, parsnips and bay leaf, then fry for 2 mins more. Return the beef to the pan, stir in the tomato paste, wine if using, and stock, then bring to the boil. Cover and cook in the oven for 1¾-2 hrs until the meat is tender. Can be made up to 2 days ahead or frozen for up to 1 month. Defrost thoroughly in the fridge before topping and baking. Take out of the oven and increase the temperature to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.

  4. To make the topping, sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl and add half the cheese. Mix olive oil and milk, then stir into the flour to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. Add more milk, if necessary. Spoon the dough over the meat and vegetables, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake for about 15 mins until golden, risen and cooked through.

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Comments (143)

carltonb's picture

Completely delicious! We have a fan oven and set it at the temps midway between the suggested temps, cooked it for two hours and left it in the hot oven for a further hour, before putting the muffin top on and raising the temps. Will definitely be doing it again.

mawaheb's picture

Amazing.. did this today and it was perfect.. the dough topping was to die for! definite family favorite..

ckandil's picture

Very yummy stew, left the muffin topping off as served with mashed potatoes instead. Used shallots for extra sweetness.

garybulgin's picture

My first attempt at a stew and went brilliantly. I'm in my wife's goodbooks. A great dish.

sukicoop's picture

Very tasty, very easy, added couple of sticks of celery and a splash of Balsamic Vinegar. Used self raising flour and no raising agent for the muffin. Yummy. Plenty for 4.

sinead1burke's picture

Just made this for dinner. Used ketchup as there was no tomato purée, and just beef stock. The beef stew was lovely and the muffin top was delicious! Will be making this again.

rosebud426's picture

Really tasty! My family loved it! although I had to use port instead of red wine as I didn't have any still tasted great! I also added a few more vegetables.

hayleyrochelle's picture

Top marks - the muffin top is a great low fat alternative to dumplings (and tastes just as good!) Following a suggestion here I made a third more of the muffin top than the recipe suggests and this was in good proportion to the stew. Also added a tsp of thyme before putting in the oven and used beef stock instead of veg, to make it more meaty. Made with wine. Delicious!

nickd76's picture

Gorgeous recipe, cooked it tonight for my tea and devoured half of the dish in one sitting, mmmm cheesy muffin! Lovely with a bit of fresh ground black pepper, fresh bread and a glass of red (what little red there was left! The pot got half the bottle!)

Should it not be called Muffin topped winter beef casserole though? I was always taught a stew is cooked on the hob and a casserole in the oven. Whatever you call it, its scrummy yummy and definitely on my regular menu for this winter. I put a very small swede in mine as well in addition to the other veg. Otherwise followed the recipe exactly.

Christened my new cast iron casserole dish with this recipe, a worthy baptism.

hayleythomasbrown's picture

I have made this on numerous occasions now and my whole family love it, so a firm favourite!! I've tried it with the wine and without but with extra stock and I love it all ways, I've also added Leeks to mine so I'm not on carrot overload!! Definately recommend!!

anne_f_'s picture

Delicious. As suggested by others I used less liquid (375ml wine & 125ml stock), baked at a slightly higher temperature and had to cook it with its topping for 20 minutes rather than 15. I will make this again!

kimb73's picture

What an extremely easy and absolutely delicious meal. I am not a natural, experimental cook so I followed this recipe to the T and it turned out perfect. I LOVE dumplings but from now on this muffin top is my new favorite. It really is light and fluffy. I love it and my family did too (I think they will be using this recipe at their homes in the future)

michellesmith9's picture

Excellent, although I didn't bother with the topping and thickened a little, delicious

ladybugg1979's picture

have to admit, this is the dogs doodahs of stew, the muffin top is amazing, a real winter warming favourite with my hungry household!

kayhubbard0's picture

Love this - have made it loads of times. Always goes down well.

bimbobaby's picture

This was yummy!! Do not be put off by the muffin top it tastes just like dumplings and if in doubt why not just make them like dumplings and roll them into balls and cook for 20 mins with your stew? I can't eat dumplings due to coeliac disease and have gone without for a long time, until I discovered these, will always make these as my dumplings now.
Didn't use wine and added some gf worcester sauce. Cooked in slow cooker all day. Dumplings 5* - gluten free and much healthier suet is soooo fattening!!

lorettaand's picture

Added some thyme,garlic and used butternut squash instead of parsnips as did not have any! Delicious - meat melted in the mouth! I cooked mine in the slow cooker and then returned to oven just for the muffin topping bit! My boys aged 4 and 5 loved it too especially the 'cakey' topping!

scottwarren2011's picture

Hi, first post on here. This may be a silly question but can you freeze the muffin mix seperately? This has to be the best beef stew ever we all loved it!!!!

west1871's picture

Nice hearty meal. Didn't have wine so used 1tsp marmite for depth of flavour and only around 400ml stock. Still needed to thicken with cornflour before putting the muffin top on. Found it easier to oil hands with olive oil and shape the muffin mix into the rough shape of the dish before it went on and it definately needed 25mins minimum at 190 in my fan oven. Would make again.

lou-la-belle's picture

I have my own recipe for beef stew which I used and then did the muffin topping. Lovely - and a really nice alternative to potatoes. Next time I'd make it more cheesey though.


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