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

      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

      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

      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)

    stesar's picture

    This was lovely made it on one day & reheated for the next day.
    The taste was GREAT, will make again.

    squishyfishy's picture

    Was going for the healthier option so didn't make the topping. Cooked it in my slow cooker and it was lovely. Will definately make again.

    amydavis7's picture

    The aroma from cooking this was heavenly & the flavour did not disappoint! I would definitely make this again. It is a nice departure from traditional pastry-topped meat pies.

    emmaloustar's picture

    This is one of all time fav recipes for winter - not that we ever have a summer!!! Easy to do, comforting and the muffin top is lovely!

    poshpause's picture

    Didn't bother making the stew, but put the muffin top (which is gorgeous, by the way) on top of an ordinary mix of minced beef with rich gravy. Delicious middle of the week fare!

    trenethick's picture

    Absolutely gorgeous,didn't change a thing,the topping was particularly delicious.

    karentown's picture

    I loved this ... especially the muffin top. Used a very mature cheese and it was HEAVEN!!! I missed the part where you were supposed to increase oven temp so the muffin took longer to cook (duh!!)

    Everyone enjoyed this. I did have to thicken as it wasnt as thick as I like for a stew and I cooked slower and longer to ensure beef was melt in the mouth tender :)

    Firm favourite!

    janesimpson's picture

    Very tasty family meal although probably wouldn't do the muffin top again.

    gerryvick's picture

    Tried this recipe. Absolutely gorgeous. Easy to do but tastes fabulous.
    You will find this a family favourite.

    traciekan's picture

    delicious, i used sweet potato instead of parsnip as i didnt have any! left out tom puree and added some mushrooms. i made the stew the day before then just mixed up the topping to cook

    cazandjay's picture

    delicious family meal, it makes a change instead of dumplings, whole family enjoyed this, very very comforting.

    katjane2's picture

    I doubled the quanties and added some chopped bacon. It turned out delicious. A firm family favourite.

    anengineer's picture

    Beautiful flavour to the stew and the topping. However, the stew was still quite runny after a full 2hrs using exactly the right quantity of stock & wine. I ended up adding cornflour to thicken.
    After the advised 15 mins baking time for the topping, it was still quite obviously not cooked through and needed another 10 mins, and even then it tasted a touch floury. Overall, a really tasty dish and one I will definitely cook again, though next time I'll probably allow a bit more time - it's not something you can really start from scratch when you get in from work - unless you like eating after 10pm. Also, next time I'll try cooking the topping separately so it is more evenly cooked through. Overall though - delicious !

    football's picture

    excellent did not change any ingredients - i made this dish for a
    murder mystery evening for eight people all thoroughly enjoyed
    it and even asked for the receipe

    ptebbutt's picture

    This is a firm favourite. Easy to make, and (without the topping) it freezes well. I LOVE the flavours of the stew and topping
    There are only 2 of us, and I always make the full recipe, so I freeze half the stew, and I make (half the quantity) of topping fresh each time we have the meal.
    I want to try the stew as a pie filling next.

    sherilynt's picture

    Made this a couple of times now and it's fab. Second time around I used self raising flour instead of baking powder and it worked just as well. Left out the parnsips as my husband does't like them but added cooked chestnuts just as I spooned on the topping - they went brilliantly with the dish. Didn't have tomato puree so used ketchup and added a splash of balsamic vinegar (as I do with all slow cooked beef dishes). I used really good quality beef and let it cook for an extra hour. My family loved it and my husband declared it the best dumplings ever - even though I pointed it out it was muffin!

    blitz64's picture

    From the comments above, looks like me & my family are the odd ones out. The stew was a little too tomatory for me, my family agreed(maybe i put too much puree in by mistake?). Though the muffin topping was lovely, we didnt think it went well with the stew. Will definitely try this again, but without the tomato puree, we prefer a more beefy taste, & will try a plain muffin top, which would be a great alternative to dumplings.

    laevans's picture

    We loved this - especially the yummy topping. However, I think the cooking time needs to be extended as the meat was only just cooked and the veggies were a bit too al dente. Next time will ignore fan oven temp and use normal oven temp.

    jennysstuff's picture

    this is absolutely fabulous, delicious - and easy!

    squeak191's picture

    I thought this was fab! Definitely one of my favourite winter recipes now. Make it - you won't be disappointed.


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