Citizens, this is perhaps the classic Jamaican dish, outside of Jerked meat! A Jamaican patty is a pastry that contains a meat filling and spices baked inside a flaky shell, often tinted golden yellow with an egg yolk mixture or turmeric.
It is made like a turnover but is more savory. As its name suggests, it is commonly found in Jamaica, and is also eaten in other areas of the Caribbean, such as Nicaragua and Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast.
It is traditionally filled with seasoned ground beef, and is often eaten as a full meal, but it can also be made as bite-sized portions called cocktail patties.
The beef patty is a product of colonialism and migration developed after the introduction of the Cornish pasty in the Caribbean, mixed with cumin and curry seasonings of Indian indentured servants in Jamaica and cayenne pepper from African slaves. The incendiary taste of the Scotch bonnet, a hot pepper indigenous to Jamaica, completed the flavor.
Jamaicans brought recipes for the patties northward in the 1960s and 1970s when many went to the United States as hospital orderlies, home health aides and nurses.
Patties were then found in restaurants in areas of the New York Metropolitan Area with high West Indian populations. Patties are equally popular in UK cities with large West Indian populations such as Birmingham and London.
Their popularity is spreading in the UK and they are becoming available in many mainstream outlets. They also are popular in Toronto, Washington, DC, and numerous other areas throughout the American northeast and Canadian Great Lakes regions; in many of those areas, they are available in grocery stores, delis, corner stores, and convenience stores.
Citizens, my recipe is both traditional, spicy and authentic – I believe you will find it to be a wonderful meal, especially paired with a cold Jamaican beer! 🙂
Battle on – The Generalissimo
For the Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons yellow curry powder, preferably Jamaican
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
¾ cup cold water
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 large egg, lightly whisked
FOR THE FILLING:
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, finely chopped (1 ½ cups chopped)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 pound ground beef
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
¾ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon cayenne
1 scotch bonnet pepper, seeded and finely chopped, optional
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
3 scallions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
¾ pound ripe tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup beef stock
1 ½ tablespoons Pickapeppa sauce (preferred) or Worcestershire sauce
2 ½ tablespoons Jamaican rum
⅓ cup fresh bread crumbs
TO ASSEMBLE THE PATTIES:
Flour for rolling out the dough
2 egg yolks, beaten with 1 teaspoon of rum
For the Dough: Add flour, salt, curry powder, and butter to the bowl of a food processor.
Whisk water, vinegar, and egg together in a small bowl. Add it to flour mixture and pulse until a ball of dough forms. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
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, bay leaves, tomatoes, Pickapeppa 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 and bread crumbs.
Set aside to cool before assembling the patties.
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 ¼ 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.