Jamaican Beef Patties Recipe

When I was in my early teens, I developed a wicked fondness for Jamaican Beef patties. They were my standard “forgot to eat lunch, stop by a gas station” go-to food, they were the perfect accompaniment for the traditional daily Slurpee (Winnipeggers know what I mean!), and they were just… my perfect comfort food.

At some points in the year, I was able to get my hands on a fresher, more authentic version of my beloved gas station food – during Folklorma, for instance. Man, Folklorama was the best festival ever – haven’t gone in several years, and I STILL think it’s the best I’ve been to / heard of! All of the different cultural organizations set up a “pavilion” – usually a community center or curling rink – to be just this mecca of all-things-that-culture.

Attendees buy “passports”, and visit the various pavilions, experiencing all kinds of wonderful food, art, and performances from that culture. It’s just this big multicultural smorgasbord, and I loved it. Folklorama is also responsible for my love of Haggis… ah, I loved the Scottish Pavilion!

Anyway. Beef Patties. I was pretty disappointed when I realized that beef patties were NOWHERE to be found in Minnesota.

When I went on my pie making rampage the other week, I decided to try making my own beef patties. I looked online to see if there were any existing recipes for what *I* knew as beef patties, and ended up pretty disappointed. Overall, I could tell that none of the recipes I found would result in the right texture – kind of a creamy, pasty meat filling, NOT just regular ground beef texture – or the right spice profile.

So, of course, I created a recipe from scratch. Well, it’s more of a frankenrecipe – I bastardized my uncle’s pie crust recipe, converting it to a savory recipe with the light taste / brilliant yellow hue that I expect from a Jamaican beef patty crust. Then, for the filling, I used the basic ideas from making Cretons (A recipe I’ll post eventually) – a French Canadian meat spread.

Oooh boy was it ever good. In particular, the filling was so ridiculously accurate, I’m amazed that any of it actually made it as far as being married with the crusts. I could have just eaten it all with a spoon.

This recipe is a bit of work, but so very worth it. Enjoy!

Jamaican Beef Patty Recipe

Crust

1 cup Water
1 Large egg
1 Tbsp Vinegar
5 ½ cups Flour
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 pinch Baking powder
1 pinch Salt
1 lb Lard*

Whisk water, egg, and vinegar together, set aside. In a larger bowl, mix together flour, curry, turmeric, baking powder, and salt until well combined.

Add wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients, mixing with a fork until just combined. Add lard, cut in with a pastry cutter or fork gently, until it resembles gravel. Don’t over handle it. In Tom’s words, “Mix it with kindness”!

Gather dough into a loose ball, divide into 6 equal balls. Wrap each with plastic wrap, and let rest for 30 minutes before using.

* Tom recommends using Tenderflake brand lard, which is apparently only available in Canada. Shortening can be substituted if lard cannot be obtained, but is definitely not *preferable* to lard.

Filling

1 large onion, finely chopped
1 habanero pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp coarse ground black pepper
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves
1 lb. Lean ground beef
2 slices white bread, ripped into small pieces
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup beef broth/stock

1 Egg, beaten
2 Tbsp water

In a large frying pan, saute the onion and habanero pepper together until onion is translucent and soft. Add the spices, stir until well distributed.

Add in the ground beef, bread, and milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring / mashing until mixture looks relatively uniform. Add beef broth, continue to cook – stirring often – until most of the liquid has cooked off, leaving a somewhat wet paste. Cool to room temperature.

To assemble

Preheat oven to 400 F

Lightly flour your work surface. Divide dough into 10 equal portions, roll each out to about 6-7″ diameter.

Center about 1/4 cup of filling on each crust, moisten edges of each crust with a little water. Fold each crust in half, pushing out some of the air as you go. Press edges closed, then “crimp” by pressing down gently with a fork. Place finished pastries on a lightly greased cookie sheet (or one lined with parchment paper).

Whisk together egg and water, lightly brush over the top of each pie.

Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until golden.

10 thoughts on “Jamaican Beef Patties Recipe

  1. This looks amazing!! If I wanted to make the beef patties with cheese, would I just place a slice on top of the meat mixture before forming the pastry?

  2. is there brown sugar in the recipe ( not sure one of the comments above mentions it but I don’t see it in the recipe. thanks
    Peggy

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