Sunday, January 6, 2013

Jamaican Beef Patties

Jamaican Beef Patties, originally uploaded by riptideredsf.
The little kitchen has run amok in pursuit of  pastry perfection in a quest to create the ultimate Jamaican Beef Patty. I also made a crazy-good Mushroom and Caramelized Onion tart.
Jamaican Beef Patties are the bomb, but unless you've been to Jamaica, London, Toronto or the east coast, you've probably never known the fast-food pleasure these spicy little pies can bring. They're the Jamaican version of empanadas. I discovered them back in the 90's whilst pursuing higher education at NYU. Ray's Pizza on Waverly Place, where a big cheese slice and a meat pie could feed the starving student for a mere $3.00, was pretty much a daily habit. So bad, but yet so good.
Those savory crazy yellow pies were greasier than all get-out, filled with spicy ground meat the texture of paste (much like the meat inside those hang-over cure, crack-in-the-box, deep fried tacos), and spiked me up a good 30 pounds in the process.
Fast forward to about a year ago when I first stumble across this vegan version at 101 Cookbooks. I had not thought about these in the 10 years I'd been back in California. Outta sight outta mind. I'm excited by the possibility of reintroducing these into my life-especially a healthy vegan version! I make them and they're almost brilliant. It's the pastry that diminishes it's ultimate perfection. It's ok, but it just doesn't have the  flake I want. I know that's my fault because I suck at pastry.
Looking for the beef, I came across this recipe from Emeril. Again-good, but not quite the flavor I think I remember (which most certainly comes from fast food preservative chemicals).
My ADD-led brain pulls me elsewhere and the Jamaican Beef Patty is abandoned.
Now it's back. I dust off my two recipes and I go a-googling. I'm a bit shocked to discover only a handful of recipes. Why is nobody making these? Empanadas everywhere, but nary a JBP in sight.

Over the weekend I went all ATK on these.

Jamaican Curry Powder
1/4 cup whole coriander seeds
2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
2 tablespoons whole mustard seeds
2 tablespoons whole anise seeds
1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
1 tablespoon whole allspice berries
5 tablespoons ground turmeric

Toast the whole spices in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until slightly darkened, about 10 minutes. Grind the toasted spices in a spice grinder with the turmeric.
This recipe makes way more than you need for the meat mixture. It's nice to keep on hand for other things like soup or chicken.

adapted from 101 cookbooks

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons turmeric
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons ice water

Meat Filling
adapted from the Food Network

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons Jamaican Curry Powder
1 pound ground beef
1 scotch bonnet or habanero pepper, seeded and finely chopped (optional) or
        1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup beef stock
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dark Jamaican rum (optional)
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard

For the pastry: Combine flours, turmeric and salt in the work bowl of a food processor or wisk together in a large mixing bowl. Toss in butter and pulse until it reaches the consistency of fine crumbles, or use a pastry blender, or rub with your finger tips (about 10 pulses or 10 minutes).
Combine the vinegar and water and mix well. Add the water/vinegar mix slowly in the food processor or by the tablespoon into the bowl, while stirring, just until the dough comes away from the side of the bowl. It will still look crumbly, but should hold together when you pinch the dough. Dump it on a floured work surface and squeeze it together into a tight ball, flatten, cover in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour or over night.
For the filling: Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, on medium-high heat, melt the coconut oil. Add the diced onions and cook until the onions are softened, about 8 minutes, add the garlic and the spice mix and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the spices become fragrant. Add the ground beef, breaking it up and cooking until it loses its pinkness. Add the habanero and beef stock and cook until the liquid reduces. Add the coconut milk and reduce. Season with salt and pepper. Add the rum and reduce. Take off the heat and finish with the whole grain mustard. Let the meat cool for about 30 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and divide the dough into 8 pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll into a ball and then flatten it onto a floured work surface. With a rolling pin, roll into a 6-8 inch circle. Wet the edge of the dough, place a scant 1/4 cup of meat on half the dough and press lightly with your hand or the back of a spoon to flatten it a bit. Fold the dough over the meat and press the edges closed with your fingers and then crimp with a fork.
Pierce the top with a knife to vent.

Bake for 30-35 minutes.

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