Muffin-topped winter beef stew

Muffin-topped winter beef stew

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(151 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

    Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
    7th Jan, 2019
    This was delicious, dumplings were really light, we had Mash and Brocolli with it, the other half loved it, will definitely make again.
    20th Nov, 2018
    Great recipe, I live alone so used 350g diced beef and halved rest of the stew ingredients. Didn’t have red wine but added some homemade grape jelly and some balsamic vinegar with water to make up the quantity. Made 2/3 of the muffin recipe and added some parsley. Muffin did need longer cooking. Will use the muffin recipe with other stews.
    Tony the Cook
    13th Nov, 2018
    I doubled the beef content as I had that much in the fridge that I needed to use and at the end it actually felt like the right amount. Although I am absolutely at the lower end of cooking talent and experience this came out really well.
    12th Jan, 2018
    Lovely tasty stew , perfect for a wintery day and we thought the muffin top was a great alternative to dumplings. I added a leek, and followed suggestions from others to use 600ml beef stock (no wine) and cooked the muffin top for about 25 minutes. I agree with Kim Bambrough- not 5 stars because it’s a lovely recipe which I will make again, but it’s not a show stopper.
    Kim Bambrough
    22nd Jan, 2017
    A nice family meal especially on a cold day. I made the muffin topping into dumplings, a nice alternative to using suet. Can't give a higher score as it is a middle of the road recipe though quite tasty
    Saize's picture
    30th Nov, 2016
    Beautiful hearty winters meal. Loved by all the family. The parsnip made the meal come together. Will definitely be making this again.
    11th Nov, 2016
    Forgot to say, I spread the muffin mix in small blobs by hand, starting on the outside and moving into the middle, filling any gaps at the end with the final bits.
    11th Nov, 2016
    Brilliant, the muffin works a treat. Have made this a couple of times, added Swede and mushrooms to the sauce too which worked nicely. It reheats well in the oven or microwave if you have leftovers.
    23rd Feb, 2016
    Very tasty. I added garlic, halved the stock and used slow cooker then transferred to oven for the last part. I used the exact recipe for the muffin and it was perfect. No need to thicken the stew. Will definitely be making again.
    8th Dec, 2015
    Didn't really like it! Not enough topping, and a bit flavourless. Won't try again.


    Alison Westcott's picture
    Alison Westcott
    21st Nov, 2018
    My parents can't eat cheese. Will the dumpling still work without the cheese or is there an alternative to using cheese?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    22nd Nov, 2018
    Thanks for your question. Removing the cheese will change the consistency so we'd suggest using an alternative dumpling recipe. You can tack this on to step 2, once the meat is tender.
    jess-booth's picture
    22nd Aug, 2013
    Hi, this recipe sounds amazing! I'm going to make it for my husband this weekend. Question - I'm wondering what size casserole dish to use. The recipe says its for two adults - so is it a smaller sized dish? Thanks
    13th Nov, 2013
    I used 2 small casserole dishes (20cm diameter) and both were full to the max, so if you have one, go large-ish is my recommendation.
    19th Dec, 2013
    This is a stew that can 'Stand Alone' without the topping.(ie accompanied with mash etc.) The Muffin top? Rather dense. My husband loves 'stodge' and this went down very well with him'. I enjoyed but would prefer a lighter topping. I found it difficult to spread thinly. Any ideas please as husband wants seconds!? How can I make this a lighter topping? any ideas ?
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