Yeah, man. It’s a snowin’ outside and I’m thinkin’ Jamaica. Let’s change the tone here and start with some music. Just do it. We all need a little jammin. So just click here and get your groove on while you are a readin’.
Hey man. It’s been a way too many years since I’ve seen the blue ocean. Since I’ve felt the sand. Since I’ve seen the blue skies above while the salt water brushed my feet; my manicured feet with hot pink toenails. Yeah man. I’m a dreamin’. You already know what it sounds like. Well, that is if you clicked on that link. By now your body should be swaying. Gettin’ the kinks out while the world sounds a bit rosier. Yeah man. I love me the sound of a Jamaican accent. It always sounds so happy. They could be tellin’ me they hate me and I’d just be shakin’ my head up and down. Yeah man. Love that accent.
And don’t get me started on those locks. Oh man, I might be weird, but I love those locks. Reminds me of when we were on the beach and Zoe and her friend who is engaged, (Oh man. How can that be?) stopped their 6 year old giggling and sat patiently in the sun while their entire heads were braided with beads of their choice. Yeah. That’s about as close as two little blond 6 years olds can get to dread locks. But oh man. I do love me braids, too. And then upon going back to school I remember how all the little girls on Zoe’s basketball team just ogled those braids and half of them showed up at the next game with their heads braided. Oh yeah man. They felt the groove. Good to start that groove early, man. Also remember how it felt to remove those braids after about 6 weeks. Those cute little girls weren’t so patient then, as we sat at our friend’s cabin destroying our fingernails trying to get those braids apart. Oh man, So not fun. Just think about that man, before you get those braids.
I’ve made it to Buffalo Soldier. Where you be at, my friend? My shoulders are a groovin’ with the keys below my hands, shoutin’ out to me. I’m a thinkin’ of that truly awesome, way out there trip, to Jamaica we took when the kids were 6. Way too long ago, Lot’s happened since then. But I still love me Jamaican food ‘cept for about the last 20 years I’ve had to eat it in the Mile High. Still good, but so not the same. Just sayin’. And I even have a little friend over on Colfax at the Carribean Bakery, (no web site) who sells me patties. He has the locks. He has the accent. But no sand, man. No sand.
So Stir it up. Little Darlin’. Stir it up. Make yourself some patties. We first ate them in Montego Bay. I told our driver. I said, “I want some patties, man. What’s the best spot?” He took me to Mother’s. Well, I think it was Mother’s. My mind’s gone through a lot of changes since then, man. It was lunchtime at Mother’s. It was packed. I was the only girl with straight hair in there. Just sayin’ man. I think that driver thought me crazy. But I got me my first taste of a patty, man. No goin’ back since then. Yeah man. I don’t forget good food in this crazy head o’ mine.
Man I love that riff in “I Shot the Sheriff”. Don’t be doin’ that man. No, don’t you be doin’ that. But you best be doin’ this patty makin’. These are so perfect for lunch. For dinner. For snacks. Fill them with lentils. Fill them with love. I love me some lovin’ patties. The recipe looks long. It’s only because I gave you a lot of tips to get that pastry jammin’ right. You need a good, flaky pastry. Really makes that fillin’ sing.
Jamaican patties are the equivalent of Jewish kreplach, Chinese potstickers, Mexican empanadas, Italian ravioli, Cornish pasties, American hot pockets. You get the picture? Time to get your feet out of the sand and get this recipe workin’. You’ll be happy you did. This is happy, handheld food. So… Let’s get together and feel all right!
Adapted from: Travelling Jamaica
Time to Make: About 2 hours start to finish
4 c flour, lightly stirred
1 T yellow curry powder
1 1/2 t salt
Pinch of turmeric
1/2 t baking powder
1 c or 2 sticks cold, unsalted butter
1 1/2 c ice cold water
2 T oil
1 1/2 lbs ground meat (I used pork)
1 large onion, finely chopped or less depending on your mood
5 scallions, finely chopped
2-3 t dried thyme
3 garlic cloves minced
1 T grated fresh ginger root
1 t turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
1-3 t Scotch Bonnet pepper sauce
2 T rum
1-3 c dried bread crumbs (I used 1 1/2)
1-3 c water
Directions for Pastry Dough:
Mix together flour, curry powder, salt, turmeric and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut your cold butter lengthwise down the center of the stick. Now cut horizontally in 8 slices so you have 16 cubes. Mix these into flour mixture and cut in with a pastry blender or two forks. Make sure your butter is distributed evenly, but don’t worry about some pieces of butter being bigger than others. The idea is to create a flaky crust and to do this you need those butter cubes to melt into the dough leaving air pockets behind, which is what creates flakiness.
Now slowly stir in the ice water. You will want mixture to come together in one giant ball. You may not need all of the water. You may need more. The right amount is the amount that helps create the ball when you use your hand to push this together into one giant mass! Different flours need different amounts of moisture! Just be careful not to overwork the dough. Once it is together without being to crumble, wrap it up in plastic wrap and stick it in a very cold place. My cold place was out on the deck where I left it for about 2 hours. You could leave it overnight in the fridge if you prefer.
When ready to use, soften the dough in your hands and divide it into 4 pieces. Now divide those pieces into three, to give you about 12 pieces. Obviously if you want smaller patties, you can make them smaller but we like these meal sized!
Directions for Filling: The key here is to use the type of meat you prefer. Turkey tends to have a lot of moisture so you may need to use more bread crumbs to bind the mixture. Lean beef, chicken and pork most likely require less. Use your judgment. The key is in the seasonings. These seasonings rock! I found it much easier to find a Scotch Bonnet hot sauce than find fresh Scotch Bonnet chilies. Hot sauce is also a lot easier to work with than fresh chilies! Use at your own discretion.
In a large bowl, combine all the filling ingredients through salt and pepper. You can add more salt later if the mixture needs it. I only used a few grinds of pepper because I prefer using the hot sauce. Using your hands, mix this mixture really well. Knead all the seasonings, onion and garlic well into the meat. Massage well!
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the meat mixture and cook over medium high heat until meat is lightly browned. Add the hot sauce, rum and bread crumbs. Mix well. Stir in enough water to lightly cover meat. Mix well and bring mixture to a simmer. Cover and simmer until mixture is the consistency of thick chili. You don’t want this filled with soup and you don’t want it dry. When it is a good spoonable consistency (about 20 minutes), take mixture off of heat and let cool while you roll out the pastry.
I rolled out my pastry into 5-6″ rounds to the thickness of about a 1/4 inch. Using a large serving spoon, place a spoonful over the dough. I covered it very close to the edge. Now pick up as you would a taco and bring edges together. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Continue with rest of dough. It is OK to warm the dough up a bit between your hands. I also roll my dough between two sheets of plastic wrap so I don’t have to worry about using flour. This really is pretty easy.
When all the rounds are filled, use a fork around the edges to crimp. I find the best way to do this is to pull the fork through the top to the bottom rather than just pressing down to seal. Try it and see.
Bake at 400 for about 35 minutes or until the bottoms are a bit gold. Dough will turn a light yellow and your kitchen will smell like Jamaica as it bakes. Not a bad thing when it is cold outside!
More Island Food:
Thai Coconut Peanut Pork Dip
Brazilian Coconut Shrimp Stew
Hearts of Palm, Avocado and Orange Salad
Coconut Rum Tres Leches Cake