These Jamaican beef turnovers, aka beef patties, are seasoned with chiles, curry, allspice, and thyme and wrapped in a savory pie pastry that’s reminiscent of puff pastry or crescent rolls. Tasting is believing.
The author of this recipe claims that “beef turnovers, or patties, are to Jamaican culture what hamburgers are to American culture.” Well, that’s just fine with us, as we’re huge burger fans. And we are huge fans of these savory hand pies–for their flavor, buttery crust, and simplicity. With the exception of Scotch bonnet peppers, you most like have all the ingredients on hand. (If you’re like David and The One, who aren’t huge heat fans, you can substitute a few drops of hot pepper sauce.) And because the can be frozen and baked right from the freezer, they’re perfect when guests happen to drop by. Originally published January 24, 2013.–David Leite
Jamaican Beef Turnovers
- Quick Glance
- 45 M
- 1 H, 30 M
- Makes 6 to 8 turnovers
- For the pastry
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup lard
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 oz), plus more for the baking sheet
- 1/3 cup cold water, plus more as needed
- 1 large egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water
- For the filling
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 oz)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon stemmed, seeded, and minced Scotch bonnet or habañero chile, or 1 tablespoon minced jalapeño chile, or more or less to taste
- 1/4 cup finely chopped scallion whites
- 1/2 pound ground beef (85% lean)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup homemade beef stock, homemade chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
- 1/4 cup finely chopped scallion greens
- Make the pastry
- 1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, turmeric, and salt. Using a pastry blender, 2 knives held crisscross fashion, or your fingertips, cut the lard and butter into the flour mixture until everything is crumbly. Sprinkle with the cold water and stir to make a stiff dough, adding more water 1 tablespoon at a time if necessary.
- 2. Lightly flour your work surface and roll the dough to an 1/8 inch thick. Try not to roll the dough any thinner or it will be too delicate to contain the filling. Cut the dough into six to eight 6-inch circles using a plate or pan lid as a guide. Cover the stack with wax paper or a damp cloth until ready to use or place the pastry circles in a single layer on a baking sheet, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
- Make the beef filling
- 3. Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion and chile until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the scallion whites and cook for 1 minute more. Add the ground beef, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, curry powder, allspice, and thyme and mix well. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is no longer pink. Stir in the bread crumbs and stock, cover, and simmer until the liquid has almost evaporated, 8 to 12 minutes. The filling should be moist but not soupy.
- 4. Stir in the scallion greens and season with salt and pepper to taste and more chile, if desired. Remove from the heat and let cool. (You can cover and refrigerate the filling for up to 1 day.)
- Assemble the hand pies
- 5. Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).
- 6. Lightly butter a rimmed baking sheet. Place 2 to 3 tablespoons filling on one half of each pastry circle. Moisten the edges of the dough with water and fold the dough over the meat filling, creating a half-moon shape. Crimp the edges closed with a fork. (You can place the unbaked pastries on a baking sheet, freeze until firm, transfer to a resealable plastic bag, and then toss in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, bake the still-frozen pastries, adding about 15 minutes to the cooking time.)
- 7. Transfer the pastries to the baking sheet. Lightly brush the top of each with some of the egg wash. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the pastries are golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Jamaican Anything-But-Beef Patties
- You can make these patties with alternative cuts of meat, including ground pork, goat, lamb, bison, or even grass-fed beef (you’ll need to add 2 more tablespoons butter to the filling if using either of the latter). Or combine two or more types of ground meats. (Beef and goat are especially tasty together.)
- Appetizer Patties
- To make appetizer-size patties, cut the pastry into 4-inch rounds and use about 1 tablespoon filling per round. You’ll end up with about 24 turnovers.
- In-A-Hurry Puff Pastry Patties
- If you’re rushed for time, you can substitute packaged puff pastry, thawed according to the manufacturer’s instructions, in place of the homemade pastry dough. Although we have to say, this dough is tender and flaky and really quite nice—q4not to mention easy to toss together.