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)

annelid's picture

I've made this a couple of times, and it is a real winner.

nikelpiga's picture

This is a very basic stew recipe with a very stogey topping. I would not recommend.

goodgrub71's picture

Really nice, a winner for hubby and son. Perfect winter warmer.

mward86's picture

This was fantastic, very tasty.

jennie2121's picture

Excellent meal, family loved the flavours

jennie2121's picture

Excellent meal, family loved the flavours

jennie2121's picture

Excellent meal, family loved the flavours

minacolada's picture

I really enjoyed the stew bit but there wasn't enough sauce to go around - only about half covered the meat and veg once stew once reduced - so I served the leftovers with lots of gravy on top.

My family really enjoyed the muffin top but I personally prefer dumplings. Will probably make again but will add extra stock/wine as I cook it!

charlarina's picture

This was gorgeous and I'll definately make it agin. It took more than 20 minutes to prepare but maybe I'm just slow.

csi1901's picture

Just followed recipy as I am not that good cook and I found it both easy and delicious. Will make it again to impress friends!

ksharpe002's picture

Just come in from a day out in the fresh air to the smell of this casserole cooking in my slow cooker - yum! All I need to do is finish off with the muffin topping and I know my family will love it - my daughter even requested it after the success of last time I cooked it.

ninotchka's picture

This is one of the best beef dishes I ever tasted. It made my husband moan!!!!

foodiegirly's picture

I made the muffin topping for our normal family beef stew and it was great! It was so much better than suet dumplings + lighter and healthier too. It soaked up some of the gravy yet the top was crispy and the middle was moist and fluffy. I shall definitely be making it again, maybe with herbs or spring onions in it for a change. The addition of sage to the muffin mix, on a chicken casserole would be yummy!

itslel's picture

I was absolutely crushed when my muffin topping sank as I put it on, apologising to the family! Little did I know - it rose in the oven and looked FABULOUS, not only did it look fabulous the taste was out of this world! Defininately a family favourite of the future - and I dont think I'll ever make "proper" dumplings again, light and fluffy, and a lot more suitable for we weight watchers!!

vickpole's picture

Gorgeous comfort food, really tasty, we all loved it!! I didn't fancy the muffin top so made dumplings instead. I added celery and pearl barley which made the gravy thicker than I imagine it would have been ( I had to added more water for the dumplings to swell up). Definitely recommend!!

trianna's picture

Absolutely gorgeous. Took alot longer than the 20 mins prep time, and cooked the topping for 30 mins as per earler comments but it was well worth the wait. Clean plates all round!

carolearmy's picture

Absolutley beautiful meal, will make this again, maybe double the quantities and freeze.

indigo12's picture

Delicious and really easy!! The topping was great.I added a small pack of ready prepared casserole veg (which had the carrot and parsnip but also diced potato,swede and leek),this was because i wanted more "bulk" in case the kids wouldn`t eat the top.....but they loved it and asked for more!!

amiebart77's picture

I must be one of only a few who didn't like this (my partner loved it) For me, the muffin just did not taste right on the stew. The parnips had totally reduced down to bits, even though I made sure they were large chunks. The stew itself was very tasty, but I wont be making it again with a muffin top.

botleypark402's picture

Did this in the slow cooker with additional root veg, transferring to the oven when topping was added. The muffin top is definitely a great alternative to dumplings. Will be making again


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