I’ve made 2 trips to Jamaica and both times my favorite food memory has been a local favorite, Juici Patties. Spicy or mild, beef or chicken, ground to perfection with onions, garlic and spices… stuffed inside a flaky empanada-style pastry.
Patties are found at most road-side Jerk Shacks throughout Jamaica – they can be a snack or a meal – whatever your pleasure. I finally found a little Jamaican restaurant in The Farmer’s Market here in Nashville, Jamaica Way… and they carry patties! They also serve curried goat, oxtail, and rice & peas…some of the prepared specialties once only found in Jamaica.
The other day, while watching the Food Network… Big Daddy’s House came on. Now I love me some Big Daddy… Aaron McCargo is not afraid of spice and heat. Using flavors from the Caribbean and South America… infusing them in some of our everyday dishes making them even more savory and exciting! Plus, he was The Next Food Network Star‘s Season 4 winner… and I love that. And what do you know? He was making patties!
So, all that to say, I took Big Daddy’s Spicy Beef Patty recipe and tweaked it to make it my own. I always want to give props if I try to copy someone’s recipe (highest form of flattery, right?)… but if you know me, you know I’m not good at following recipes verbatim. I always need to add a little somethin’ of my own…
1 pound lean ground beef or turkey (or try lentils and diced potato for a vegan version)
1 medium sweet onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic or garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon fine sea salt (add more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon of African Hot Pepper (you can use dry Chipotle pepper if you can’t find the African Hot Pepper-which I found at the International Market in downtown Nashville)
2 teaspoons curry powder – divided
1 jalapeño, finely diced (include seeds for extra heat)
1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup beef broth (or vegetable broth)
1 beaten egg (or flaxseed and water for vegan option)
1 tablespoon water
2 packages pre-made pie crust (Pillsbury are lard-free)
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Sauté meat (or cooked lentils & potato) over medium heat, adding garlic, onions, paprika, thyme, 1 tsp curry powder, black pepper, African Hot Pepper and salt. Stir together, and then add the diced jalapeño. Be sure to mix thoroughly so you don’t get “hot spots” from all the spicy peppers. I use a potato masher to break up the filling so it starts becoming cohesive.
Remove from the heat, adding the bread crumbs and the broth. Stir well to combine and set aside to cool completely. Make sure mixture is cooled or it will start cooking the dough if you add it in while it’s still hot.
Meanwhile, whisk together the egg, remaining curry powder and water in a small bowl. Set aside.
On a work surface, unroll the pie crusts and cut out 3-inch rounds using a cookie cutter (or a prep bowl rim as I did – see photo).
Add a hearty tablespoon of the filling onto each round. Fold over and press the edges with your fingers. Crimp the edges with a fork and transfer the patties to a baking sheet and brush the tops with the curry egg mixture.
TIP: I always use parchment paper on my baking sheets. It keeps things from sticking, no added calories from cooking sprays or greasing your tray. And helps food cook evenly because it acts as a buffer from contact with the metal tray.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
The Perfect Bite
Now… it’s tempting to take a big ol’ bite as soon as they come out of the oven – the curry smell and the golden flaky pies are almost too much to resist! But be careful… they’re piping hot! Take my word for it, they WILL burn the roof of your mouth. Not that I did that or anything…
The Perfect Pairing
Sheerly by accident, I discovered a great pairing for these pies. While waiting for these delicious little babies to cool… I popped open a bottle of Barefoot Cellar’s Pinot Grigio Champagne. I was in the mood for celebrating the discovery of how to make one of my favorite foods. Why not champagne with a little street food? I mean, it’s made by Barefoot after all… so it warrants casual consuming. Anyway, this champagne is bright, slightly sweet and perfectly tames and soothes your pallet for your next bite of your spicy beef patty. And starting at $9.00 a bottle… it’s hard to beat.
Did You Know?
Jamaica is a culturally diverse country whose population most notably includes Africans, African-Europeans, and Chinese. Original Jamaican inhabitants, the Arawak and the Carib Indian tribes have established a rich variety of cooking styles and techniques, using the fresh produce native to the island. Although Caribs are known to be cannibals, they are known to spice raw meat and seafood using chili peppers, a staple in Jamaican cooking. Arawaks, on the other hand, devised a slow-cooking method of meat by placing it on a makeshift wooden grill over open fire. Food historians believe that this method is what pioneered barbecuing. Read here for more information of Jamaican cooking.