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)

gurneyd's picture

this was both simple and husband felt that the topping was the answer to there never being enough dumplings! We slightly increased the dumpling cooking time, used a mature cheese for the topping and added some mixed herbs to the dough. Great recipe, thanks.

trace40's picture

haven't tried it yet but it looks fab ....

lesley1142's picture

Done this recipe for my husband and two young girls. They loved it! I added mushrooms instead of parsnips and also a tablespoon of cranberry sauce. I also put only half the amount of wine in and topped rest up with beef stock. The muffin top was to die for! Nice and crispy on top but very light and fluffy underneath, not stodgy the way some dumplings tend to be. Mind you, I did have problems trying to spread it on top so I put them on as 3 large dollops- they spread quite well in the end! Served it with green beans and potatoes. So good I am serving it for my next dinner party.

leppie's picture

The muffin top was awful! Very stodgy, too cheesy and needed a longer cooking time than stated.

kaffiness's picture

This stew is so more-ish, and very filling. It’s easy to make and the muffin top is a great change from dumplings.

I wasn’t paying attention and cooked it at the normal temperature instead of the fan temp, but it turned out perfectly. This will become a regular in our house.

hungryhusband's picture

I added some celeriac, as didn't have enough parsnip. Worked well. Delicious recipe!

wondermum's picture

Have made this several times and we enjoy it but I make a scone topping as we find the muffin one a bit stodgy.

purpleflufff's picture

Great recipe. Tasted great the next day too (and no the muffin top didnt even get soggy sitting in the stew for a day). I followed the recipe almost exactly, just added some leeks as I had them left over in fridge and it worked very well. You could add any veg here. Was going to add bacon (from a recomendation above) as well but I forgot, tasted great without, though I might add it next time for a slight twist along with the worcester sauce. I will definately make again.

mariabudgen's picture

Made this at the weekend (wouldn't have time on a week night!) and thoroughly enjoyed it - it made enough for the 2 of us, with the same again to reheat for dinner tonight. Only put in a handful of parsnip chunks as other half not keen, but added an extra carrot. Will probably add mushrooms next time.
We thought the cheesy muffin top was great - though not sure about the Good Food claim that it's a "lighter" topping than dumplings! Ours was pretty stodgey, even though I cooked it for an extra 20mins in our (non-fan) oven as the topping definitely wasn't cooked in 15mins. Other half thought it was in fact very like dumplings which he loves, so was very happy!

dylanski's picture

Definitely the best beef stew I've made - great colour & depth of flavour. I left out the parsnip, and used beed stock instead of vegetable, also added a dash of balsamic & worcester sauce. I actually made a large quantity intending to freeze the leftovers - but we ate it all!

lorraine5858's picture

I LOVE this recipe. I always make all the stew and as there are two of us I freeze half. Sometimes I halve the carrot and add a leek. A definate favourite and I alway make sure I have at least one in the freezer.

reddeb1's picture

Made this for Sunday lunch last week, so left the stew in the slow cooker all morning. Stew tasted FAB, will defintaley be making again. At the last minute decided to make the muffin topping and although it looked great when it came out of the oven and had a great taste, it was a bit stodgy when cooked ontop of the stew. My husband loved the topping (he loves a bit of stodge!), but I think I may try baking the topping as individual cheesey muffins to serve alongside a bowl of the stew next time...I think the kids would prefer it this way too :)

gallopinggoose's picture

Comfort food at its best!!!

webbant's picture

I made this for my parents one night when they were visiting, and they both really loved it. I didn't change a thing, and it worked perfectly. 10/10!!!!!!

christopher's picture

I made this with my son todafor the first time and we all agreed it was lovely. My husband gave it 4 stars and my son asked me can we make it again for next week.

Frantic Flapjack's picture

A real winter warmer! Went down very well in our house with a thumbs up for the muffin topping.

kickingkatie's picture

Very tasty, an absolute success and a healthy alternative to dumplings :D

kate1706's picture

Another great recipe from this website - I'm so glad I've found you - so much so I've subscribed to the magazine! This was delicious and simple. Everyone loved it and I will definitely make it again. As my "name" suggests I'm not a lover of cooking, though I seem to live in the kitchen, but I have found so many great recipes on this site that I'm beginning to actually enjoy producing great dinners! Thank you!!!

natpol69's picture

I cooked this for 3 hours the day before and then 1 hour on the day of eating and the meat melted in your mouth.
Also note that when you add the muffin in doesn't have to cover the surface because it expands greatly.
Tastes fantastic and doesn't need anything else to go with it.


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