Editor's note: Each Saturday afternoon we bring you a Sunday Supper recipe. Why on Saturday? So you have time to shop and prepare for tomorrow.
It's been a weird summer in the Midwest. Morning sunshine has regularly given way to cool, rainy afternoons. In other words, it doesn't feel like the season ever got off the ground. Since cool weather didn't take a vacation, frankly neither did I. That got me thinking about warmer climes, ones with turquoise water lapping arcs of white sand.
Enter these flaky Jamaican meat patties, pastries that are everywhere on the island, from ramshackle roadside stands to neighborhood restaurants and, yes, resorts. You'll find them when traveling to other Caribbean islands, too, and that's a godsend because they're so good.
I figured, why not make them at home? I opted for the traditional filling of seasoned ground beef, which just so happens to be my personal favorite. Of course, they're commonly stuffed with everything from shrimp to ackee and chicken, so you can let your imagination run wild. While they make a great snack in smaller form, it's common to eat them as a meal. That's what I intended here.
Typically, the yellow-hued, suet crust is made with fat from curried goat. That wasn't exactly feasible in my home kitchen, though. So I adapted this dough recipe because I favor its easy approach and ochre tone. Curry powder lends that color, while two sticks of butter (yup, two sticks) take the place of lard.
Make the dough in advance because it needs to chill for at least an hour. When cutting it out, a circular side plate works quite well in terms of size. Because the dough is a bit sticky, you'll need a fair amount of additional flour for your work surface and rolling pin.
As for the filling, it's not difficult to make. The key is to ensure it packs a flavorful punch. So, in addition to onion, garlic, and Scotch bonnet peppers, I've added a slew of aromatic herbs and spices, which simmer with the meat in a bit of broth. Meanwhile, Worcestershire and Pickapeppa sauces lend nuance. If you can't find Pickapeppa, standard steak sauce will do. I'm going to be honest, though: it isn't as good. Once the meat has absorbed most of the liquid and the mixture is almost dry, I add breadcrumbs for body.
Although it's tempting to go for broke, don't overstuff the dough. Place about 2 tablespoons onto half of the circle, leaving a 1/2-inch rim around the edge. That way, you have room to seal them properly. Brush the fringe of each circle with an egg wash, fold the dough over to create a half-moon shape, and secure the filling by sealing the edges with the tines of a fork. After a quick brush with egg wash, they bake for about 30 minutes and come out smelling (and tasting) like bliss. Best of all, no plane ticket to the island is required (hrm, or maybe that's a bad thing...I wouldn't mind a trip to Jamaica right about now).