Jamaican Pattie

My wife has started going to a book club on Sundays. They read a bunch of drama filled books and then sit around and discuss them like literature. Well this past Sunday they decided to have a "Jamaican" pot luck and you know where my wife went to get her dish.

Now although I'm not Jamaican, I have been to Jamaica and I have eaten Jamaican food so I do have an idea what it's supposed to taste like. My first thought was to make Jerk Chicken, which I have made before" but somebody was already making that so I had to stretch beyond my boundaries and come up with something I had never done before.

Jamaican meat patties.

Wonderful, spicy meat inside a flaky pastry. Perfect except for one thing. I don't bake. Ok I make canned biscuits and the occasional baked chicken but for the most part the only time I turn on the oven is to heat up my apartment. But I decided that I could do this so I went in search of a recipe. I found one at the Caribbean Connoiseur website. Most people who know me well, know that I rarely cook something directly from a recipe. I always end up tweaking either for my taste or out of necessity (I don't have that ingredient and I don't feel like going to get it.). So I will post the recipe in it's entirety and I will post my changes in italics. Then you will have your choice of doing the original or following my tweaks.

Jamaican Patties

PASTRY

2 cup Flour 1/4 tsp Salt 1/4 cup Solid shortening 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine 1/3 cup Cold water 2 tbsp tumeric 1 tbsp ground annato seeds (the last two give the crust it's distinctive color)

MEAT FILLING

2 tbs Margarine 1 Small white onion Finely chopped 1/4 tsp Chopped Scotch Bonnet pepper 1/2 lb Lean ground beef (I used shredded pork because it was handy.) 1/2 tsp Salt (I would increase this to at least a tbsp. My meat was a little bland with this amount.) 1/2 tsp Freshly ground black pepper 1/2 tsp Curry powder 1/2 tsp Dried thyme 1/4 cup Breadcrumbs 1/4 cup Beef or chicken stock 1 Egg, beaten ( I didn't use any of the previous three ingredients because the pork didn't need it. If you use the ground beef, include these three ingredients. I hope that was clear...) 1/4 cup Water (I increased this to 1/2 cup because I didn't use stock.)

Note: Scotch Bonnet pepper is a very hot pepper native to Jamaica and the Caribbean islands. Try to find it at your area's West Indian grocery stores, or use jalapenos as a substitute. Also known as habinera peppers.

1. Sift the flour and salt (and tumeric and annato) into a large bowl. Cut in the shortening and margarine until crumbly. Add the cold water to make a stiff dough. Lightly flour a wooden cutting board and roll out the dough until about 1/8 inch thick. (I thought my crust came out a little thick so I would roll it thinner.) Cut out 8 inch circles.(Mine were appetizer size so I cut 4 inch circles instead.) Cover with wax paper or damp cloth until ready to use.

2. In a heavy skillet, melt the margarine and sauté the onion and Scotch Bonnet Pepper until they become limp. Add the ground beef, salt, pepper, curry powder and thyme and mix well. Brown the meat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add the breadcrumbs and stock and combine all the ingredients well. Cover the skillet and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When all the liquids have been absorbed, the filling is ready. It should be moist but not watery. Remove the skillet from the stove and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

4. Uncover the dough circles and place 2 to 3 tablespoons of filling on half of each. (About 1 tbsp for the smaller patties.) Moisten the edges of the dough with water and fold the dough circle over the meat filling. Pinch the edges closed with a fork. Lightly brush the pastry with a mixture of the egg and water. Bake on a lightly greased baking sheet for 30 to 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Yield: 10 patties. (20 appetizer size)

Jamaican Pattie

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Until next time,

The Survival Gourmet

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