Muffin-topped winter beef stew

Muffin-topped winter beef stew

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(134 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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    9th Mar, 2012
    Very nice....although did add bouquet garni for extra flavour
    26th Feb, 2012
    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!!!!
    5th Feb, 2012
    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
    1st Feb, 2012
    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!
    18th Jan, 2012
    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.
    12th Jan, 2012
    2nd Jan, 2012
    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!
    29th Dec, 2011
    A lovely winter warmer, topping needed an extra 10 minutes but beautiful flavour, made to the recipe and nice and thick stew.
    16th Dec, 2011
    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.
    26th Nov, 2011
    DELICIOUS! Got the full thumbs up for husband too. Changes/Alterations: 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.


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