To get to the trains in Boston's Back Bay Station, you navigate between two of those famous Northeast donut shops and a vendor selling Jamaican meat patties from his cart. On most days I can resist the temptation of lattes and chocolate glazed doughnuts, but the aroma of curry wafting from that cart pulls me in. The last time I walked through the station, I promised I would make Jamaican meat patties for you.
Though I prefer mine with extra-lean ground beef, you can substitute freely with ground chicken or turkey, pork or even goat, which is a Caribbean favorite. The filling comes together quickly from ingredients you already have in your pantry, and to make it even easier, use store-bought discos (empanada dough), another pantry staple, for the wrapping. If you have time, make a double or triple batch. Freeze them after they're baked, and reheat in a warm oven whenever you're ready to serve. These tasty little hand pies make a great take-to-work lunch, and a popular party appetizer.
Easy Jamaican meat patties
Filling adapted from Cooking Caribe. Makes 10-12 meat patties; figure on 1 per person for an appetizer, or 2 per person for lunch. Recipe can be multiplied.
For the filling:
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (mild or hot; I use mild)
3 scallions, white and green parts, minced
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 Tbsp dried thyme leaf
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Large pinch each: kosher salt and fresh black pepper
1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup chicken stock (homemade or low-sodium store-bought)
For the patties:
1 package discos, plus 2 additional (12 discos), defrosted
In a medium nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the beef, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and scallions. Stir frequently, breaking up the beef, until the meat is lightly browned (6-7 minutes).
Add the remaining filling ingredients and simmer, stirring often, for 10-15 minutes. The filling will thicken when you add the bread crumbs, but keep stirring and cooking until the filling is moist, but not wet. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for at least 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a Silpat (silicone mat) or parchment paper, and set aside.
On your countertop, place a small bowl of cool water next to your work area. Set out a large flat plate or platter on which you will form the patties.
Take one disco and set it on the plate. Place a heaping tablespoon of meat filling in the center.
Wet your finger in the water, and run your finger around the entire edge of the disco. Fold the disco over to form a half-moon, and press down on the seam to seal. To strengthen the seal, press into the seam with the tines of a fork. Place the patty on the baking sheet, and continue until all of the patties are formed.
Crack the egg into a small bowl, and beat it with 1 tablespoon of water. Using a pastry brush, paint the tops of the patties with this egg glaze.
Bake at 400F for 18-20 minutes, until the tops of the patties are lightly browned.
Serve warm. Or, let the patties cool completely, and pack into zip-lock bags to refrigerate or freeze. Reheat in a warm oven before serving.
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