Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jamaican Beef Patties...

I would have normally waited for the weekend to make tonight's dinner, Jamaican Beef Patties, because of the total time needed to prepare the dish from start to finish. Luckily enough, I knew I was going to have extra time early this morning, which gave me the ability get the dough combined and chilled.

The turmeric-stained dough for the pastry was interesting - it used cold butter, which isn't all that unusual, but the recipe has you replace some of the butter with canola oil to cut down on the amount of saturated fat. You will need to give the pastry enough time to rest in the refrigerator before working with it, which allows the flour to absorb the liquid, the butter to firm back up and become a cohesive, roll-able mass. If you're ambitious (I wasn't!), you could prepare the dough a couple days in advance and leave it in the refrigerator.

With the dough relaxin' in the cold, we had enough time to get the filling cooked and then cooled - you don't want to top cold pastry with a hot filling. Ground sirloin and mess of scallions with one fiery bite from a minced Scotch bonnet chile pepper created the innards of these patties, but that's not all it contained. When the sirloin had browned, fine breadcrumbs (I used panko, crushed in a mortar and pestle) are stirred in with beef broth, thyme, turmeric and a dash of salt. The crumbs instantly soak up the broth and expand, adding a bit of moisture to the bulked lean beef filling... at least that's what I think the recipe intended. After a scant spoonful to check for seasonings, it felt a bit dry to me, which led me to add a tablespoon or two of extra broth. If you can't find that chile, you might have more luck locating a habanero - they are a little less spicy and don't have the citrus-y background the Scotch bonnet has.

With the chilled pastry divided in half, then each into thirds, each portion was rolled out to be topped with the filling. If you don't mind edges that are a little scruffy, you can top the pastry with a scoop of the beefy filling and work the dough to match up the edges as best as you can to seal them closed. If you want a perfectly shaped half-moon pastry, roll the dough out, top it with a 6" bowl or plate and trim off the rough edges - you can get the job done either way.

As the filling is already cooked, the patties just need to bake until the pastry is firm and golden. I was curious to see how the canola oil affected the texture of the crust and as suspected, it wasn't exactly the most flaky pastry. Jeff and I did think it had promise and was a good compromise though. The filling tasted fine, but still came off a bit dry - I think a small, finely diced onion would have been better than the scallions, along with a splash or two more broth at the end.


  1. You all make me want to cook! Beautiful!

  2. Would love to have that with some salad for lunch...looks delicious. I often make with curried chicken filling....delicious too.

  3. I remember these fondly from my trip to Jamaica. Thanks for the memories!

  4. Wow, you make it look sooo good. I can never get that perfect look when I try making stuff like this.

  5. PRose - That's what we strive for!

    Mary - Curried chicken filling sounds interesting!

    Ed - How long ago did you visit?

    DC - Thanks!