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

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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!! 🙂