Muffin-topped winter beef stew

Muffin-topped winter beef stew

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(136 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 parsnips, 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, questions and tips

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    16th Aug, 2014
    Just made and eaten and whilst it was very tasty, the recipe requires some adjustment. As others have said, the consistency was far too thin, so I added 3 heaped tsp of corn flour, mixed to a paste with red wine, and stirred through before adding the muffin topping. The topping needed more milk. I also added thyme to the topping, but this was just out of choice - I'm sure it would have been fine without.
    24th Mar, 2014
    Stew wonderful! I doubled the topping as per reader advice and it was far too much ! Way undercooked for a family of 4! Next time I will cook casserole/stew as per recipe and probably use a baked suet dumpling with cheese from my own recipe. Rate this 4stars plus 3stars for topping
    12th Feb, 2014
    Just finished serving this, it is absolutely gorgeous, did it to the word using feather blade steak. The meat just melted in the mouth and the muffin top was so scrumptious. I did this gluten free just changing the flour. Will deffinetly be making this again.
    6th Jan, 2014
    Really tasty recipe. Have made it several times now - I think the best topping amount is to increase the recipe stated amount by 50%. Much nicer than dumplings!
    27th Nov, 2013
    Excellent! Easily made suitable for coeliacs by using gluten-free flour, stock and flour.
    13th Nov, 2013
    Fried some lardons in the casserole first, then fried the floured steak in the bacon fat, substituted some of the orange carrots for yellow/purple ones and a leek (didn't have parsnips), splashed the onions with red wine rather than water, 1tbsp sundried paste, 1tbsp tomato puree, 2 bay leaves, fresh rosemary & thyme in a bouquet and 45 mins into the oven time I tasted the sauce & added some balsamic vinegar and some tangy lingonberry sauce and a tbsp dark brown sugar. Divine! Made to freeze & will make the topping when this is on the menu. Can't wait! (Saving the 5th star for the topping!)
    21st Sep, 2013
    Made this loads of times now, and it's been great every time. It takes quite a while to prepare but it's worth it. I don't put the muffin top on as a 'top'; I shape spoonfuls of the mixture into rough dumpling shapes and drop them on top of stew then bake as per recipe. This is definitely one of our family favourites! I normally feed 2 adults and 2 children and freeze an extra portion (without the muffin/dumplings).
    20th Sep, 2013
    This recipe is great, very warming and filling. I have made it a few times now and i do mine in my slow cooker and put the muffin top on half an hour before the end of cooking!! Yummy!! :)
    17th May, 2013
    Bloody Lovely. The muffin top was to die for!! I agree it needs a longer cooking period and it did need thickening....but other than that it was perfect!
    17th May, 2013
    Delicious every time. I use beer instead of wine and add in a bit of fresh thyme and rosemary at the end of cooking and it's always great.


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