Porter braised beef with cabbage and polenta

Porter braised beef with cabbage and polenta


For three years on this blog I’ve talked about myself through little food experiences so this month I’m trying something different. I’m dedicating this month to Jamie Oliver and telling you a different kind of story.

My boyfriend and I went for a long walk in the weekend and managed to fill the hour talking about Jamie O and what he began. I started watching him at around age 15 before my culinary training; Jamie taught me to snap the ends of the asparagus in the supermarket and only pay for the good bit, he showed me how to make pesto and he showed me how to roast a chicken.  Jamie made cooking cool and through his show and cookbooks demonstrated that it didn’t have to be fiddly and time consuming and blokes didn’t  have to loose their manhood. He influenced people to include foods like balsamic vinegar, pancetta and buffalo mozzarella in their weekly shopping and cook like chefs in their own kitchens.

Although not without controversy he’s akin to a modern-day hero by providing disadvantaged teenagers the same opportunity he had in the restaurant industry (Fifteen), taking fake fried meat and flavoured milk out of kids lunches (School Dinners) and explaining to people that a hot chip is not counted as a vegetable serving (The Food Revolution & The Ministry of Food).

Jamie O was my first love so at Whitcoulls book shop in Queen Street, Auckland, in the early 2ooo’s I was there, in line ready to meet him. I can remember having a plan, a plan to say “Jamie, you’ve inspired me to become a chef. Your food, especially your fish pie has changed my life”… but unfortunately my encounter didn’t quite go as planned. As soon as he said “hi babe, you aight?” I froze…and all I could think of was “he called me babe”. I replied with “yes, thanks” and that was it. Not long after this my sister had better luck – she chased him down in a Tesco supermarket and told him that her sister loved him. Gosh we sound like a family of stalkers.

This is recipe is inspired by Jamie O, it’s hearty and warming and perfect for sharing with people you love in this cold month of July.


Serves 6-8
For the beef: 2kg beef, cut into large squares (approximately 5cm x 5cm) Oil for frying 3 carrots, roughly chopped 2 onions, roughly chopped 1 bay leaf 2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce 1L dark porter beer For the cabbage: 1 red cabbage, finely sliced 4 tbsp seedless raisins 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar 2 tsp brown sugar Salt and pepper For the polenta: 500g polenta 500ml water Butter, cream, grated parmesan and salt and pepper


For the beef: 1. In a frying pan, heat oil and brown the beef. 2. In a slow cooker or oven dish add the beef, the chopped veges, bay leaf, chipotle peppers and beer. 3. Cover and roast for at least 3 hours. 4. If you are cooking in the oven, for the last 20 minutes of cooking take the lid off to reduce the liquid. If you are cooking in a slow cooker, once the beef is cooked drain the liquid into a sauce pan and reduce by half. Then add the liquid back to the meat. For the cabbage: 1. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and once hot, add the cabbage and fry for 3 minutes. 2. Add the balsamic, raisins, brown sugar and season with salt and pepper. For the polenta: 1. Make the polenta as per the instructions on the packet. 2. For a creamier polenta whisk a knob of butter, cream or milk, grated parmesan and salt and pepper just before serving.

6 thoughts on “Porter braised beef with cabbage and polenta”

  • Hi Katea, the chipotle peppers are a product under the ‘La Morena’ brand. I purchase their products from New World supermarkets (in Auckland) – I have tried other major supermarkets without luck. La Morena chipotle sauce, refried beans and corn soft tacos are also delicous must-try products!
    Happy cooking:)

  • I just made this tonight! I found the recipe from StumbleUpon and made it about 3 days later- I couldn’t wait to try. It came out great and it was a huge success! I put in 3 chipotles, but I may do 4 next time. I also don’t think I added enough porter because after 3 hours all the juice was gone! But nonetheless, it was delicious. The polenta and the sweet and sour cabbage and the tender delicious beef… PERFECT! I’ll have to try it again in the wintertime when it’s a little more appropriate. Thanks so much for a great recipe- Jaime Oliver would be proud!

  • Thanks so much – your comment has made my day!
    I also like a good amount of heat so with your suggestion I will add a comment in the ingredients list to use an extra chipotle for a bigger ‘kick’. Mine had quite a bit of juice, maybe it depends on the cut of beef, or difference between using an oven and a crock pot? Which did you use?
    Thanks again:)

  • Hi Sara. Well, it’s over a year later and I’m revisiting this recipe. I hope to make it very soon. I hadn’t saved the recipe and I’m glad I could find it by Googling “beef+red cabbage+porter+raisins” because that’s all i could remember. So glad I found it!

    The first time I made this I did it in the oven. I can’t remember what cut of beef I went for last time. What do you use for this?

  • Hi Adriane,
    To be honest I can’t remember which cut I used when cooking it for these particular photographs but for slow cooked beef I usually go with brisket, chuck, rump or any kind of stewing beef. This recipe is perfect for cheaper cuts of meat – just trim most of the fat (it’s ok to leave some on) and brown first to maximise flavour!
    Thanks for your comment,

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