Beef and Red Wine Stew with Cheddar and Chive Biscuits

6/19/2018 07:53:00 AM

Beef and Red Wine Stew with Cheddar and Chive Biscuits. Today's recipe is a delicious beef stew, all tender pieces of beef in a rich red wine sauce, topped with the lightest, fluffiest cheddar and chive biscuits. Total winter comfort food!

Beef and Red Wine Stew with Cheddar and Chive Biscuits

Yup, it's cold outside. Right now I'm all about puffy jackets, hot tea, electric blankets and general hunkering down. Last weekend in particular was blustery and rainy, and with Sandra and I both recovering from colds, it was the perfect opportunity to stay indoors and embark on a little comfort cooking.

A couple of years ago, when Simply Nigella came out, one of my must-make recipes was the spiced lamb stew with a goat's cheese and thyme cobbler topping. I mean, cheesy scones on a stew? Get in my belly! I tried it and loved the cobbler topping, but the stew just didn't work for me. It was incredibly garlicky, and even though I love garlic, it was way too strong for me and I couldn't finish it. However, the idea of a cobbler topping stayed with me, and I thought that a version of it it might work well with a traditional beef stew.

Let's start with the stew. This beef and red wine stew is a riff on Nigella's wonderful oxtail with Mackeson and marjoram, one of my favourite stews from How to Eat. I used her recipe as a blueprint, and changed it up to use meats and flavourings that I wanted. I love it because there's lots of layers of flavours in the stew. You start by cooking (lots of) sliced onion in oil until translucent, then adding dried marjoram and parsley.

Sautéed onions

Then you dredge some beef casserole pieces in flour with mustard powder, nutmeg and cloves, then brown them well all over. (The seasoned flour melds with the beef fat and juices, adds a layer of flavour to the stew, and helps it to get nice and thick at the end).

Seared Beef

Then you add the sautéed onions (so much flavour!), and top with carrots, celery, stock, red wine and a bay leaf.

Oniony Beef

Once all the ingredients are in, you shove the whole thing in the oven and let it cook slowly for a few hours. Bonus points for keeping the kitchen warm on a freezing cold day! Here's the stew, all cooked. Just look at that rich and thick sauce! (Note: I transferred the stew from the pot to a shallow and wide dish so that the biscuits would brown faster, but you could definitely just use the same pot if you want).

Beef and Red Wine Stew

Obviously the stew is absolutely fine as it is (more than fine, fabulous even), just sprinkled with a little parsley and served with some mashed potatoes or rice. However, I can highly recommend that you make these biscuits as a topping - they're so easy and just incredible!

It's a basic scone dough, with grated cheddar, chopped chives and buttermilk in the dough. You can use regular milk, but do try buttermilk if you can find it - it makes the topping so tender and fluffy! Sandra's colleague Julian brought her some cheese from Tilba Real Dairy, and I thought it'd be just perfect here. (Come to think of it, I'm not sure if that cheese is technically a cheddar, but I think any sharp hard cheese would suit).

Buttermilk, Chives, Cheddar

So, you grate the cheese and some butter, and rub it into the dry ingredients. (You've got plain flour and some salt and leavenings, plus some spices. Mustard powder and nutmeg in the topping echoes the flavourings in the stew). Then you stir in the chopped chives and the buttermilk to form a dough. It's an accommodating, pliable dough, easy enough to form into a dough and pat into a rectangle.

Biscuit dough

Cut the dough into circles and brush with an egg wash, and you're ready to go!

Glazed biscuits

Top the stew with the biscuits, and then bake in a hot oven for 15 minutes. The stew should be warm when it goes into the oven with the biscuit topping. If you're making the stew and biscuits at the same time then it will already be warm; if you're using fridge-cold leftover stew from the night before I'd suggest popping the dish of stew, without the biscuits, into the oven while it's preheating. Once the oven's come to temperature, remove the now-warm stew from the oven, top with the biscuits, and then bake for the remaining 15 minutes.

Biscuit-topped stew, ready for the oven

Either way, while the dish is in the oven, the biscuits half bake / half steam, turning golden brown and crisp on top, and staying tender and fluffy in the middle. They also absorb some of the flavours from the stew and are just amazing.

Beef and Red Wine Stew with Cheddar and Chive Biscuits

I liked it with some green peas on the side.

Beef and Red Wine Stew with Cheddar and Chive Biscuits

This stew would make a perfect comforting Sunday lunch or supper. Or keep leftovers for the week ahead! Leftover stew and biscuits both reheat really well in the microwave.

Beef and Red Wine Stew with Cheddar and Chive Biscuits

We can totally handle winter.

Beef and Red Wine Stew
Recipe adapted from Nigella's Oxtail Stew with Mackeson and Marjoram (How to Eat)

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, peeled and finely sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
Small bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
30 grams plain flour
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1-1.25 kilograms stewing beef, cut into cubes
2 celery sticks, whole
1 x 400 gram tin chopped tomatoes
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 4cm batons
1 bay leaf
200-300 millilitres red wine
300 millilitres beef stock or water

Preheat the oven to 150C.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large oven-safe casserole. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt, and cook over a low heat until they are translucent and softened, approximately 10 minutes. Add the garlic, marjoram and a sprinkling of flat leaf parsley. Cook, stirring, for a further minute, then remove to a plate.
Mix together the flour, mustard, nutmeg and cloves on a large plate, and season with salt and pepper. Add the beef and stir to coat in the flour.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the casserole over a medium-high heat. Add the beef and brown well on all sides. (You may need to do this in batches).
Top with the softened onions, then add the carrots, tinned tomatoes, celery stick and bay leaf. Pour over the wine and stock. If the liquid doesn't cover the beef, add extra water.
Stir to mix the ingredients, place a lid on (or cover with foil if you don't have a lid), and pace in the oven.
Cook for 2-3 hours, or until the meat is tender. If you are topping the stew with biscuits, prepare them while the stew is cooking.
Serves 5-6

Cheddar and Chive Biscuits
Recipe adapted from Nigella's Goat's Cheese & Thyme Cobbler Topping (Simply Nigella)

175 grams plain flour, plus more for rolling
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
50 grams sharp cheddar
50 grams cold unsalted butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives, plus more for sprinkling later
1/2 cup (125 millilitres) buttermilk
1 egg+1 teaspoon milk, for glazing

Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, sea salt, mustard powder and nutmeg into a mixing bowl.
Grate the cheddar using a fine grater. Chop the butter into fine cubes.
Place the cheddar and butter into the flour mixture, and rub them into the flour using your fingertips until they're distributed throughout the flour and the mixture is sandy.
Stir the chopped chives through the mixture.
Pour in most of the buttermilk and stir to combine, to form a soft dough. (Pour in the rest of the buttermilk if required to help the dough come together - you might not need it all).
Lightly flour a kitchen surface, and tip out the mixture onto the surface. Knead gently to bring the dough together, and gently press out to a thickness of just under 1 centimetre.
Dip a 6cm scone cutter into flour and cut out discs from the dough, setting the discs aside on a plate or tray as you go. Re-roll the scraps and continue until you've used up all the dough.
Beat the egg the teaspoon of milk and a pinch of salt and whisk to combine. Brush the biscuits with the egg mixture.
When you want to cook the biscuits, preheat the oven to 220C. Top the warm stew with the biscuits, and place in the oven. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the biscuits are risen and golden, and the stew is bubbling.
Makes approx. 14

Have you made this recipe? Leave a comment below! Tag me on Instagram @sarahcooksblog and hashtag #sarahcooksblog

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  1. I make a similar beef stew with cheese dumplings on top and you just can't beat it on a cold night can you! :D



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