Friday, 14 February 2014

Muffin Topped Winter Beef Stew

As you may know, I've had some tummy problems recently that have meant I've not felt much like cooking or eating, so the blog seems to have been all onions and no paper for some time. However  the lovely Claire at has come to my rescue so here is her guest post for Muffin Topped Winter Beef Stew.

Muffin-topped winter beef stew

For the stew
500g braising steaks, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with pepper and a little salt
2tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
450 g carrots cut into chunks
2 large parsnips cut into chunks
1 bay leaf
2tbsp sun dried or regular tomato paste.
450ml vegetable stock
For the topping
225g plain flour
3tsp baking powder
140g cheddar , coarsely grated
2tbsp olive oil
150ml milk

Method Heat oven to 150 C/fan 130C/gas 2. Toss the beef in seasoned flour. Heat oil in a large flame proof 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.

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 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions have softened.
Tip in the carrots, parsnips and bay leaf, then fry for 2 minutes 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 1 3/4-2hrs 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.
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 15 minutes until golden, risen and cooked through.

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