For months I have been reading recipes for the delicious savory treats known as Jamaican Beef Patties. Although I have only had the meat filled hand pie on two occasions, I fell in love immediately. The first time I had them was during the African World Festival in Detroit so many years ago. That day I only ordered one because, I had never heard of them before and at the time; I just ordered what seemed easiest to eat while walking around the river front. The second time was just last year when I and two of my friends went on my “Annual Birthday Food Tour”. One of the stops we made was to the Caribbean Restaurant Norma G’s, in Detroit on Jefferson Avenue. I ordered a couple of things off the menu but the thing I really wanted was the beef patty. Although they were just as delightful as I remembered from my first tasting experience they were too small and not quite enough to satisfy my craving for them.
Just what is a Jamaican Beef Patty, You ask?… Well, it is a divine golden pastry filled with a lightly spiced but, well seasoned beef filling that is baked to perfection in an oven. If I had to sum it up in one word that word would be: HEAVENLY.
So recently I have been salivating over YouTube videos of people making patties. Determined to make myself; I slowly gathered all the ingredients from the grocer and decided to try making them. From watching the recordings I knew that the process would be lengthy and I hoped for the end results would to be rewarding….(Spoiler Alert) They were. So very satisfying on the day of but, even better on days two and three.
Yes, I ate them three days in a row and I, am not ashamed. The work is well worth it and doesn’t take long as separate tasks. The long part is the waiting for the dough to chill in the refrigerator and waiting for the meat mixture to cool before assembling them together for baking. My advice is to pre-plan if you do not want to spend a few hours in the kitchen at one time. Make the dough the night before and even the meat mixture if you want. On the next day roll and cut out the dough, assemble, bake and enjoy without being wiped out. Either way you will probably want a nap after snacking on a couple of the savory pies.
I made the dough for the patties in a food processor. I don’t have real experience using a food processor for any task and never really wanted to because I always hand cut everything just the way I want it. I always make my pie crust and biscuit dough by hand. I never ever considered making any pastry or bread dough in a food processor until now, when I watched one of the teachers of Jamaican patties do it. Thank the heavens that I did not have to go out and buy a processor at least. There was one sitting in the basement. And, IT WAS BRAND SPANKING NEW IN A NEVER BEFORE OPENED BOX!… HA! Can you say WINNING?! Who doesn’t love opening and playing with new toys?!
Well I’m gonna save you some thought on if you should consider making pie, or pastry dough in a food processor. Y. E. S. you should. I did not break a sweat. Simply put your flour, salt, sugar and, turmeric in the very clean and dry bowl base of the food processor. Place the very cold pieces of butter into the same bowl and repeatedly press pulse on your processor until the mixture is like fine crumbs and the butter is completely mixed in. Finally add the water in 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time pulsing after each addition until the water is absorbed. You will want to add water by the tablespoonful until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and it cleans itself. Boom! Done. So easy.
NOTE*****First make sure how many cups of flour your processor can hold to make the dough. The size of the bowl is different than the amount of flour for making dough it can hold. Double check this to be sure you won’t have a big mess on your hands.***** The recipe I will share today has 4 cups of flour. And just my luck that is how many cups of flour is allowed for the Cusinart Prep 9 Food Processor.
The meat mixture is quite simplistic too. Cut up and sauté’ the veggies, brown the meat, add in seasonings and bread crumbs. Simmer with the addition of water. The simmering is very important for the patties. The meat breaks down to a very small crumb. The meat mixture will go further and will have the perfect texture that blends well with the dough when baked. Let the meat cool completely. Once everything is at the right temperature you are ready to assemble. So pretty much you have done this before.
Below you will find the recipe for the dough and the meat mixture do not be intimidated on the list of ingredients or the number of steps involved. I promise you can do it!!
Jamaican Beef Patties
4 cups all purpose flour
2 sticks very cold real butter cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon turmeric
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons water
1 pound ground beef 80/20
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup chopped white onion
1 medium carrot stick cut into small dice
2 teaspoons fresh garlic minced
1 scotch bonnet or habanero pepper chopped finely seeds removed
1/4 cup scallions finely sliced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon worchestershire sauce
1/4 heaping cup panko bread crumbs
1 cup water
seasoning salt to taste
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
Measure the 4 cups of flour into the clean dry bowl of a food processor with the dough blade already in place. Add to the bowl turmeric, salt and sugar. Lastly add into the bowl the very cold pieces of butter. Place and lock the cover on top of the bowl with the feed chutes also in place. Pulse the flour mixture until butter disappears and mixture resembles corn meal.
Two tablespoons at a time add the water through the small food chute and use the pulse button until water is absorbed. Repeat until the mixture pulls away and starts to clean the bowl itself.
**NOTE (If you do not have a food processor you can make the dough in a large bowl. Blend together all the dry ingredients and the cold butter pieces together using a pastry blender or two butter knives until the mixture looks like small peas. Add the water a little at time folding the flour mixture after each addition until the dough comes together into a ball.**
Divide the dough in two, wrap each half with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. (Making the dough first will allow for more resting time.)
Make the beef filling.
Add the oil to a medium/large skillet on medium heat. When the oil is hot add the onion, scallions, scotch bonnet pepper, carrot and, parsley. Stir until onions are tender. Stir in the finely chopped garlic. Move vegetables around for 1 minute or so to prevent the garlic from burning.
To the veggies, add in the ground beef. Cook and crumble the meat until browned and vegetables are completely mixed in.
Mix in the ground black pepper, thyme, curry powder, chicken bouillon, worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Add in seasoning salt to taste. Stir in the bread crumbs.
Pour in one cup of water. Bring filling to a boil and let simmer 10-15 minutes until water is almost absorbed. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Remove skillet from heat and allow the mixture to cool completely.
When the meat filling is cooled assemble the patties.
**Preheat oven to 375 degrees.**
**Line baking sheets with parchment paper.**
Remove one half of the wrapped pastry dough from the refrigerator. On a floured board or counter top roll out the crust into a thin circle with a floured rolling pin. Using a large round cookie cutter or another similar object (I use a large top from a coffee canister.) cut out the individual circles. Each wrapped half should yield at least 6 individual circles.
Using an actual table spoon (not the measuring spoon) place a heaping spoonful into the middle of each pastry. Moisten the perimeter of the pastry with water dipped fingers and fold the pastry over the meat mixture and seal the seam together. With a fork press the dough together all the way around the meat pie making a decorative edge with the tines of the fork. If the fork gets sticky dip it into water and start again. Place each beef patty onto the lined baking sheet and set aside until all patties are assembled.
In a small bowl or glass measuring cup mix together the large egg and 2 tablespoons of milk to make an egg wash. Using a pastry brush, paint each hand pie lightly with the egg wash. The egg wash will give the patties and nice golden baked shine.
Bake the Jamaican Beef patties in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
Place the cooled leftovers in large ziplock bags and refrigerate.
To re-heat wrap in foil place on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.
Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!
Recipe is adapted from http://cheflolaskitchen.com