Sunday, September 26, 2010

Jamaican Beef Patties

I was super excited to find out that I had advanced to Round 2 of Project Food Blog! Thank you SO SO much to everyone who voted 🙂
CHALLENGE # 2: Ready to tackle a classic dish from another culture? Pick an ethnic classic that is outside your comfort zone or are not as familiar with. You should include how you arrived at this decision in your post.

I knew exactly which cuisine I’ve been wanting to tackle,  but have never gotten the courage to do so… Jamaican! And what better than the classic spicy Jamaican Beef Patty. Just saying it, makes me salivate. I LOVE the buttery flakey crust paired with the peculiar spicy meat filling. This tasty treat is common in Jamaica and other Caribbean countries.

A little background on my love for Jamaican beef patties:
My Aunt married a Jamaican/Lebanese man (enter: Uncle Johnny).  Uncle Johnny was born in Jamaica, however his Lebanese roots really shine through with the cooking his family does (YUM- i LOVE Lebanese cuisine!).  At family events, you tend to find mostly dishes like: Kibe, Ma’anik, Hummus, Tabbouleh, Za’atar Bread, Spiced Chicken etc… (foods I am quite familiar with). But someone (thank you whoever that someone was!) would always, without fail, pick up some Jamaican Patties from a local Jamaican bakery. UH-MAZING. I don’t know how else to describe them! So, I grew up eating Jamaican Patties… and loving them!  However, never did anyone actually prepare them themselves.  They were always bought from a nearby Jamaican Bakery.  Well, after this challenge, I now know why! haha

Although I am familiar with the TASTE of Jamaican Patties, I hadn’t a clue as to the ingredients that went into then… or the process in which to make them. I’m not a baker… Pastries are not my thing.  This was a little intense for me! Man, I had NO idea just how involved these little labors of love were!  After making them myself, I can say too that I’ll stick to picking them up at the Jamaican bakery the next time I have a craving for one of these puppies! Just keeping it real, people… 🙂

I’m not a fan of recipes that take an entire day to cook; especially when it’s a mere appetizer, hah! Now don’t get me wrong, these turned out great and tasted wonderful, but the labor-intensive process just isn’t my thing!

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to pay homage to one of the best Jamaican specialties, this is the recipe for you! Just roll up your sleeves and get to work.  In the end, you may be exhausted, but when you take a bite into these little tasties, you won’t be disappointed!

Below is the recipe along with some pictures of the process.  Enjoy… and if you think I should move on to the next round- Please Please Please send some votes my way!

Side Note: The hubs really “upped the anti” for me to win this thing.  He said that if I win that we can finally start having kiddos (if you know the hubs… you know this is a BIG deal… HUGE… EPIC… err you get the point). So if for no other reason than that- PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE vote me to the next round and give me a shot at this!!!

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Jamaican Beef Patties

Source: Emeril Lagasse


For the Pastry:
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dried turmeric or annatto
2 teaspoons salt
8 tablespoons vegetable shortening
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water

For the Filling:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or butter
1 large onion, finely chopped (1 1/2 cups chopped)

For Assembly:
Flour for rolling out the dough
2 egg yolks, beaten with 1 teaspoon of rum
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 pound ground beef
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric or annatto
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 scotch bonnet pepper, seeded and finely chopped, optional
(I substituted 2 Habaneros for the Scotch Bonnet)
2 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
3 scallions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 pound ripe tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup water or beef stock
3 tablespoons Jamaican rum


For the Pastry:
Sift the flour, turmeric, and salt into a large bowl. Using your fingers, two knives, or a pastry blender, cut in the shortening and butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Working quickly, add only enough water to form a firm dough. Do not overwork pastry. Form dough into a disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 1/2 hours or overnight.

For the Filling:
In a large skillet, heat the oil until hot but not smoking. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute. Add the ground beef, turmeric, cumin, allspice, cardamom, hot peppers, and thyme and cook until the beef is browned and spices are fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the scallions, parsley, tomatoes, and stock and simmer for about 25 minutes, until the flavors have come together and almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper, remove from the heat and stir in the rum. Set aside to cool before assembling the patties.

To Assemble:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry and cut into circles about 6 to 7 inches in diameter. Spoon a scant 1/4 cup of the cooled filling onto the center of one side of each circle, and lightly brush the edges of the circle with a little of the beaten egg yolk mixture. Fold the other half of the pastry over so that the edges meet, and use a fork to crimp the edges together. Lightly brush the top of each patty with a little of the beaten egg yolk mixture. Place the patties on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

(I made a few large patties, but then did the rest as “cocktail” sized patties… b/c well, let’s face it- I love miniature versions of my favorite foods! I used a 3.5″ diameter round cookie cutter and a rounded tsp of filling for the center)
Best served with an ice cold glass of Jamaican Kola Champagne! It’s an imported soda (for Jamaica) made from Cane Sugar. SO Good. Sigh… the taste of Childhood :)Okay people… go out there and vote! Show me some love!
There’s future children on the line here!! 🙂

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24 Responses to “Jamaican Beef Patties”

  1. 1

    Karen — September 26, 2010 @ 2:09 pm

    Everything about this dish sounds fantastic…the little hint of spice in the pastry, and the spicy/sweet flavors of the filling. YUM!
    Good luck on the next round!

  2. 2

    michelle @ The Domestic Mama and The Village Cook — September 26, 2010 @ 3:00 pm

    Yum- we went to Jamaica for our "baby-moon" when I was 6 months prego…all inclusive. I ate like a champ! Love love love the patties! The story behind it was awesome, too. Best of luck with #2! You have my vote! PS- Caribbean Bakery off military-is awesome for authentic Jamaican bites!

  3. 3

    notyet100 — September 27, 2010 @ 3:04 am

    good one ,..:-)

  4. 4

    Kelly — September 27, 2010 @ 8:32 am

    Yum. I've never had a Jamaican Beef Patty but those look delicious and hello, anything with rum is always good. Consider one of my votes for you. 🙂

  5. 5

    Biz — September 27, 2010 @ 8:41 am

    Those turned out really good! I am voting for you – good luck!

  6. 6

    Victoria K. — September 27, 2010 @ 9:08 am

    These look great!! I wish I had some right now 🙂 Thanks for sharing and good luck with the contest and the babies, haha!

  7. 7

    mummy's kitchen — September 27, 2010 @ 10:08 am

    These look absolutely delicious. Great entry well done!

  8. 8

    Lindsey @ Hot Polka Dot — September 27, 2010 @ 10:26 am

    They look great! I love Jamaican Beef Patties, but I haven't had one in ages. You've given me a craving! You have my vote and good luck!

  9. 9

    Lilimonster — September 27, 2010 @ 11:49 am

    Those patties look so good! I've always wondered how to make them and now I have a recipe. Thanks!

    Good luck with PFB!

  10. 10

    Stay-At-Home-Chef — September 27, 2010 @ 10:28 pm

    Yum! Good luck in the competition 🙂

  11. 11

    CrystalsCozyKitchen — September 27, 2010 @ 11:37 pm

    Isn't it great to make a dish that you've only had pre-prepared?! I makes me appreciate the effort that others make for sure!
    Good luck – I voted for you!

  12. 12

    Arlene — September 28, 2010 @ 12:05 pm

    These patties look worth the effort! I've only made these once before but you've definitely inspired me to try again:) Well done, you have my vote! Good luck with the baby project:)

  13. 13

    The Comfort of Cooking — September 28, 2010 @ 12:31 pm

    I've never eaten or cooked anything like this, but your lovely recipe has given me a great excuse to try! Great job on these, Kristina!

  14. 14

    Clarice — September 28, 2010 @ 7:03 pm

    Normally I'm no crazy about beef, but how can you not love something wrapped in pastry.

  15. 15

    Renate — September 28, 2010 @ 7:27 pm

    I love these patties. I grew up in NYC and they are very popular there. Here in the Bay Area, though, not so easy to find. You have my vote!

  16. 16

    Danielle — September 28, 2010 @ 8:38 pm

    Those sound delicious! Good luck in round 2!

  17. 17

    jacobskitchen — September 28, 2010 @ 9:10 pm

    Great post! I LOVE your collage photos. Very well done. I voted for you!

    Good luck! =)

    You can check out my PFB post at :

  18. 18

    ohonemorething — September 28, 2010 @ 10:29 pm

    Kudos to you for tackling this dish! I love Jamaican patties as well. The patties alone are so satisfying to bite into.

    XOXO Best of luck! You've got my vote!

    p.s. I love Lebanese food as well!!!

  19. 19

    Whitney — September 29, 2010 @ 12:37 pm

    this vote goes out to your soon to be babies!!! 🙂 good luck sister!

  20. 20

    Peggy — September 29, 2010 @ 7:17 pm

    These look great! It's definitely an intricate and time-consuming process, but you did it! Good job and good luck!

  21. 21

    Gina MarySol Ruiz — September 30, 2010 @ 10:24 am

    These look wonderful! I voted for you. Good luck in the next round.

  22. 22

    CrystalsCozyKitchen — October 1, 2010 @ 2:27 pm

    I was sad to learn you didn’t advance in Project Food Blog – these beef patties look absolutely delicious. I was hoping to see you in the future challenges!

  23. 23

    Sean — January 15, 2013 @ 9:12 pm

    This recipe look to be the best of all I’ve researched. Cant wait to try it!!! Ty!

  24. 24

    Mark — February 2, 2014 @ 2:38 am

    I live in the Caribbean and have Jamaican roots. Emerils recipe is a far cry from the way most Jamaicans do their meat patties. No doubt great tasting but not terribly authentic or faithful to the genre. 

    One thing thing that irks me is people referring to this recipe as a lot of work. Where is this recipe any different from any other from-scratch pastry or turnover recipe? You do a spicy ground meat filling. How hard is that? You make dough. How hard is that? You make dough circles, fill them, fold them and bake them. How hard is that? 

    Its a shame that in this day and age, people have become so lazy with their cooking that a fairly simple spicy meat pastry is considered “intricate” or a lot of work. Pressed duck perhaps can be considered as a bit of work to do right. But meat patties? C’mon! Really?

    In many parts of my region people bake their own bread; grate bullrush to make pudding; make their own coconut oil, and do a lot of great from scratch cooking, rather than relying on merely throwing together pre-packaged or frozen pre-prepared ingredients. This is the essence of real cooking. It does not take much talent or skill to throw pre-prepared stuff in a pan and toss it around with a spatula occasionally until done. But until you’ve baked your own from-scratch 
    sour-dough bread, make cakes and biscuits and pastries from scratch, and consider from-scratch lasagne an easy task, you cant really call yourself a serious or even a good cook. 

    Most prize-winning cooks relish taking time to craft a truly great dish and that passion comes out in the result. Perhaps your lack of true passion for real cooking is one reason you did not advance in the competition. There’s a lot of karma in producing great food. It takes patience and passion. Either you have the passion or you don’t. Food for thought, eh?

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