Anna's Chipotle Braised Beef with Polenta Dumplings

, from Issue #104. July, 2022
Photography by Yuki Sato.
Anna's Chipotle Braised Beef with Polenta Dumplings

Serves: 6


3 dried smoked chipotle peppers, stems removed
1 large onion, roughly chopped
3 whole chipotle peppers in adobe sauce
2 tablespoons adobe sauce, from the peppers
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons each ground cumin, ground coriander, dried oregano and brown sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
finely grated zest and juice 1 orange

To cook
1 1/2 kilograms beef cheeks, trimmed of sinew
sea salt and ground pepper
olive oil
1 cup beef stock
400-gram tin chopped tomatoes
3 bay leaves

1½ cups plain flour
1 cup instant polenta
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1½ cups plain yoghurt
1 cup grated cheddar


Preheat the oven to 160°C regular bake.

MARINADE: Put the dried chillies in a bowl and pour over ½ cup boiling water. Leave to soak for 20 minutes. Tip the water and chillies into a blender, add all the remaining ingredients and blitz until smooth.

TO COOK: Cut each cheek into 4 and season. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof casserole dish and, in batches, sear the beef on all sides, adding more oil if needed. Transfer to a plate. Add the marinade to the pan and bring to the boil. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the stock, tomatoes and bay leaves. Bring to the boil. Add the beef and resting juices and nestle in. Cover tightly with a lid or foil and cook in the oven for 4 hours, until the beef is super tender.

DUMPLINGS: Increase the oven to 180°C fan bake. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in the yoghurt. Form into rough balls and place on top of the beef. Scatter over the cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the dumplings are golden and cooked through.