FOR THE STEW
500g/1lb 2oz braising beef, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 tbsp plain ﬂour, seasoned with pepper and a little salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, ﬁnely chopped
450g/1lb carrots, cut into chunks
2 large parsnips, cut into chunks
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp sundried or regular tomato paste
300ml/½pt red wine or extra stock
450ml/16ﬂ oz vegetable stock
FOR THE TOPPING
225g/8oz plain ﬂour
3 tsp baking powder
140g/5oz cheddar, coarsely grated
2 tbsp olive oil
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.
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.
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.
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.
PER ADULT SERVING
847 kcalories, protein 46g, carbohydrate 82g, fat 39g, saturated fat 14g, ﬁbre 10g, added sugar none, salt 2.81g