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January 31, 2013

Recipe for easy Jamaican meat patties

Jamaican meat patties made with store-bought empanada dough. So easy for a party!

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.

Jamaican meat patties, on The Perfect Pantry.

Easy Jamaican meat patties

From the pantry, you'll need: onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, curry powder, ground cumin, dried thyme, dry bread crumbs, chicken stock, discos, egg.

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.

Ingredients

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
1 egg

Directions

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.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Chicken and red pepper empanaditas
Empanadas filled with chicken picadillo
Goat cheese-olive empanadas
Asian turkey and cabbage empanadas with spicy dipping sauce
Quick and easy apple walnut turnovers

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Jamaican meat patties, from Cookin' Canuck
Curry beef with peas, from Budget Bytes
Chinese beef curry pastries, from Use Real Butter
Japanese dry curry, from Just Hungry
Curried ground turkey with potatoes, from Simply Recipes

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on books purchased through the Amazon.com links in this post.

Comments

What are discos, and where does one get them? Betsy

I've never seen discos, what crust recipe cAn I use instead?

Betsy, discos are rounds of dough and you buy them in the supermarket (freezer section) with the Goya foods. You can learn more about any of the pantry ingredients used in my recipes by following the links at the top of the recipe, marked "From the pantry, you'll need."

Katrina, you can use any recipe for empanada dough. Or, in a pinch, cut circles out of a store-bought pie dough.

I was going to ask about discos too but I imagine making a dough for this would be pretty simple. Fabulous filling and even the boys would love these!

Jamie, you can use any empanada dough recipe, or store-bought pie crust, or even store-bought puff pastry (which would make these more like samosas). Our Hispanic markets (and even big box stores) carry discos, which I've used in lots of recipes here. Goya makes them. And I am a lazy baker, so I always have some in my pantry.

How can I have missed discos? (Though unfortunately I do remember the disco dance era with the spinning mirrored balls and the flashing lights and Donna Summer singing Love to Love You Baby.) I love curry and these sound delish. Thanks for working out the recipe, Lydia.

Donna, I'm laughing out loud! We used to have a neighbor in Boston who would come home at 2 AM and dance to that song to unwind from a night of partying. Drove us crazy!

I've never known to look for them, but I'm wondering if I could find them in the Asian markets. Both here in Ohio and back in Virginia, there is a small but growing portion of specialized Hispanic food items in the Asian markets I frequent.

Thanks!

Kirsten, that's fascinating, because around here I've noticed the same trend. Not sure whether that extends to the freezer section, though, but if your markets carry a full range of Goya products, they might have discos. Or, maybe they would order for you.

Love the sound of these. I still remember in elementary school my favorite school lunch was little pie-crust rounds folded over with ground beef inside. I'm sure not nearly as good as yours, but I loved them.

Kalyn, I think all "hand pies" are irresistible. When I was a kid, I might not have loved the curry filling, but now I think it's fantastic.

I've had those patties!
I love them!
Gosh it's been a while since I've been there.
So glad you made some.
I've done them too at home, but I always make mine super spicy. And the smells it leaves in the house---ohh heavenly.
Great job Lydia!

Vanillasugar, go right ahead and spice 'em up with more red pepper flakes, or chopped chile peppers, or cayenne. These aren't spicy, but they definitely have that Caribbean warmth.

Loving how easy this would be to adapt with any ground protein

Jennifer, absolutely! I suppose you could even use tofu, though you'd have to call them tofu patties!

My kids love Jamaican patties, but I always wonder what the mystery meat is inside - this sounds so much leaner. Love the new look of your blog!

Beautiful food and the blog's looking spiffy!
Nice job.

Love the new banner! So clean and inviting.

Jeanette, no mystery when you make them at home!

Thanks, Alyce and Kalyn, for the thumbs-up. I love the new banner, too.

HA! I know that cart and I have had those patties!! Small world!
I also noticed a couple of weeks ago a Taco cart there too with a line out the door to Dartmouth street - I made a mental note to try those next time I go through and have time to wait!

I must say you have done a wonderful job of these patties Lydia. Remember eating these during my days in Toronto, Canada. Most people mess up the filling but this is very well done. And perfectly baked. This is a keeper for sure. And all these years I thought discos were for dancing. :-)

These look lovely and very authentic!

Never thought of doing a Jamaican patty from scratch. Looks good! Can't beat the taste of these for sure

I remember eating these on the streets of Jamaica Queens, NY. A street vendor used to sell these along with Cocoa Bread. I made these last night and they're very easy to make/assemble and they tasted great. I would have loved to have some kind of chutney on hand to try with them. Next time.

This is an excellent recipe! Family approved as authentic Jamaican. We used to live Fort Lauderdale, FL and frequented patty shops and Caribbean restaurants that served patties. This one is spot on. Seasoning is perfect. Made the first time with the Goya discos. We dug the filling out and ate it. Next time made a pastry crust and brushed with tumeric water. Absolutely delicious. Completely homemade. This recipe is a keeper. Thank you Perfect Pantry!

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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