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
  • 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…

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  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)

nzlissy's picture

Good hearty family fare. Enjoyed it but nothing special flavour wise in the stew base. Muffin top nice idea. Will make again but wouldn't for visitors.

oshia26's picture

Oh would just like to add I cooked my stew in my slow cooker then transferred it into a baking dish topped it off with the muffin & baked it which took about 15 minutes longer than recommended.....turned out fab

oshia26's picture

This dish was very tasty & the muffin top was a lovely alternative to dumplings will definitely be making again.

lauren's picture

My family love this recipe. We use gluten free flour (prescribed - Juvela white all purpose mix) and follow the normal instructions with it and it makes a wonderful topping. Turns out like a light scone, there's never any left over!

mrbilbertson's picture

easy and one of the most yummy meals ive had for ages!!

tyson3210's picture

Really easy to prepare and a great family meal, the topping just finished it off, perfect!!!

leeheagren's picture

Very nice....although did add bouquet garni for extra flavour

mistysocks's picture

This was sooooo good, loved the flavours. Put in diced swede as I didn't have any parsnips. Hubby wasn't sure about the muffin top but thoroughly enjoyed it, will definately make this again very soon!!!!

lesleybaillie's picture

Delicious! My partner doesn't like dumplings and my children don't like cheese scones but this went down a treat. Wil definitely make again.

katrinaridout's picture

This turned out to be a delicious family meal - kids loved the topping - left overs the following day were even tastier. This dish although time consuming is well worth the effort!

6dinnersid's picture

Really tasty and love the topping. Have used the muffin top to top many other casserole type dishes - don't know if it is but seems healthier than dumplings as it uses olive oil rather than suet. Don't always use the cheese either, just flavour with a few herbs.

pisteuomen's picture

Really excellent 1-pot meal. Just made it now for my partner and mum and dad. Not a scrap left (my brother had 2nds). Served with roast potatoes and steamed cabbage. Don't be fooled by the thickness of the muffin-top as you lay it on the top of the stew. Mine was probably the thickness of a £1 coin; once it had cooked, it had to be a good 2" thick - it really does rise!

fionaeds's picture

A lovely winter warmer, topping needed an extra 10 minutes but beautiful flavour, made to the recipe and nice and thick stew.

kateclift's picture

Very nice but the topping was too thick. i suspect the dish I used (a standard Le Cruset) was too small. Also found it a little salty. The family liked it though and I will make again but probably tweak.

muishkas's picture

Got the full thumbs up for husband too.

1. Used Beef stock instead of Vegie.
2. Used Potato instead of parsnip
3. Added a lot more milk to make a less doughy top to spread
4. Added basil to the muffin top mixture

Next time:
I will double the 'muffin top' recipe so it goes a little further.

nosilac's picture

Absolutely fab. Empty plates all round. Made double the quantity of meat and put it in the freezer - seems a waste to have the oven on for all that time and just make one meal's worth. Next time will try it in the slow cooker. Topping was a hit - better than steak pie according to no. 2 son!!

jennieh30's picture

this is the second time we've done this dish now - first time i tried to make the muffin top a bit more healthy and used wholemeal plain flour and half fat cheese and it was amazing..... second time i left my boyfriend to make it and worryingly he put BEER in it as he forgot to get wine (and didn't think to use stock...) and it was just as nice!! definitely recommend it with beer, wine or just the stock!!

weaholt's picture

Really tasty! Next time I will add more liquid to keep moist before topping with muffin mix

dawniebate's picture

I've just made this for my partner, sister and myself and it was yummy. Empty plates all round. I thickened a tiny bit before adding the muffin and added extra cheese on top (can never resist adding more cheese).Apart from these 2 tiny changes I followed the recipe by the book. Will defo make this again, in the very near future. Mucho recommend :-)


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