Jamaican Beef Patties

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Meats | Jamaican Beef Patties

(Jamaican spicy meat pies)

Descended from the British turnover, Jamaican beef patties liven up an old standby with a big pinch of curry and the fiery punch of the Scotch bonnet pepper. Jamaican beef patties have spread in popularity with immigrant populations to places like England, Toronto, New York and southern Florida. Make them small for appetizers or large for a serious entree.

Image Creative Commons by missmeng

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

Pastry

  • Flour -- 2 cups
  • Turmeric -- 2 teaspoons
  • Salt -- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Lard or shortening, chilled -- 1/2 cup
  • Cold water --1/2 to 2/3 cup

Filling

  • Oil -- 2 or 3 tablespoons
  • Scallions, finely chopped -- 4
  • Scotch bonnet pepper, minced -- 1 to 3
  • Curry powder -- 1 tablespoon
  • Ground beef -- 1 pound
  • Water or stock -- 1/3 cup
  • Thyme -- 1 teaspoon
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste
  • Breadcrumbs -- 1/2 cup

Glaze

  • Egg, beaten with a little water -- 1

Method

  1. Mix the flour, turmeric and salt together in a large bowl. Cut the lard or shortening into small pieces and add to the bowl. Work the fat into the flour with your fingers or a fork until it forms a crumbly mixture. Stir in just enough cold water to bring the ingredients together. Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly until smooth. Wrap with plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high flame. Add the scallions, Scotch bonnet pepper and curry powder and saute until 2 or 3 minutes.
  3. Add the ground beef, stirring to break it up until it is fully cooked through. Stir in the water or stock, thyme, salt and pepper and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the breadcrumbs to thicken up the filling a bit. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Roll the chilled dough out 1/4 inch thick on a floured work surface and cut out 4 to 6-inch rounds. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of filling to one side of each round, leaving a 1/2-inch border on the edge. Fold the round over to cover the filling and seal the edges of the dough by crimping with the tines of a fork.
  5. Place the patties on a baking sheet and brush each with the egg-water glaze. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until cooked through and golden. Serve immediately.

Jamaican Beef Patty Variations

  • Filling: Beef is the most common filling for Jamaican beef patties, but versions with chicken, seafood, vegetables and even soy (for Rastafarian Ital vegetarian dishes) are found.
  • Coco Bread Sandwich: Beef patties are commonly eaten as a sandwich, stuffed into a soft, lightly sweet bread called coco bread.
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