Winter warmer

This is a firm favourite. It’s a variation on an old BBC Good Food magazine recipe – but it’s quite a variation! Incredibly warming and filling Perfect after a long winter walk with the dog!


For the stew:
500 g best braising steaks, 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
450 g purple carrots, cut into chunks
2 large leaks, cut into chunks
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp sundried paste
1 tbsp regular tomato paste
fresh rosemary and thyme in a bouquet
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tbsp ligonberry sauce
2 tbsp medium chilli powder
300 ml red wine or extra stock
450 ml vegetable stock
For the topping:
225g plain flour
6 tsp baking powder
280 g mature cheddar, coarsely grated
4 tbsp olive oil
300 ml milk


  1. Heat the oven to 150C/fan 130C/gas 2. Toss the beef in seasoned flour. Remove the bacon fat and heat in a large flameproof casserole dish with a small amount of oil. Fry the floured beef in batches over a high heat until browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Add 2 tbsp of rioja red wine 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, leaks and bay leaf, then fry for 2 mins more. Return the beef to the pan, stir in the tomato  and sundried pastes, wine if using, and stock. Then add the sugar, ligonbery sauce, vinegar, chilli powder  and bring to the boil. Cover and cook in the oven for 1 and 3/4 hrs. Add the rosemary and thyme. Cook for a further 15 minutes, or 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. Make 6-8 rough dough balls from the mixture and drop over the meat and vegetables, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake for about 15 mins until golden, risen and cooked through.


This is my entry for the competition here

What do you think guys? Fancy trying it?