It was not too long ago when my wife and I decided to get out to lunch and escape our busy work schedules. I will admit, it is not that often when we both get a chance to get out on the same time to get a bite to eat, especially one that does not require us to be back within thirty minutes. So this lunch date was special. I will also admit that I am usually the one to offer up restaurant suggestions, and this date was no exception. I had a place I had been wanting to try for some time now, a place in Milwaukee called Honey Pie. Honey Pie makes things from scratch which is a huge plus in my book, and by looking at their menu, we both fell in love. It was difficult to order because everything sounded so delicious. My wife was on the verge of ordering what is called a pasty, but quickly turned to the chicken and biscuit pie. Myself, I went with the waitress’s suggestion and went with their burger, which was sloppy, but delicious.
My wife had asked what the pasty was, and the waitress came back with this description that I was not buying as a foodie, so I had described it to both of them, relating it to the empanada, or turnover. Basically a flaky dough that is filled with a meat mixture, folded and sealed, and baked until fully cooked. With that said, I had told my wife that I was on the edge of making my version of a pasty called a Jamaican meat pie, or other wise known as the Jamaican patty.
Now I have never been to Jamaica, and trust me, I would love to go, not only to relax on their beaches, but also to try the jerk chicken, and also their saltfish and stews. I do know enough however of the flavors of Jamaica, and decided to offer up my version of a meat mixture to make these Jamaican meat pies. Let’s get started.
Ingredients for the Dough:
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp turmeric powder
- 8 tbsp Crisco vegetable shortening
- 8 tbsp butter, unsalted, cubed
- Approximately 1/2 to 3/4 cup of cold water
- Additional flour for dusting
- Large cutting board, or pastry board
Ingredients for the Meat Filling:
- 1 lb of good ground beef
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 tbsp ginger paste
- 2 tbsp garlic paste
- 1/2 tsp tumeric powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp cumin powder
- 1 large habanero pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
- 15 oz can of tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup of cooked rice
- 1/2 cup of beef stock
- 2 tbsp dark rum
- 1/2 tbsp salt (to taste)
- 1/2 tbsp black pepper (to taste)
Ingredients to make the pie:
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 tbsp water
Begin by making your dough. To a large bowl, sift in your flour, salt, and tumeric powder. Sifting your ingredients not only removes any lumps, but it also makes the dough nice and flaky. Add in your shortening and the butter. Take a couple of forks and begin mixing the butter and shortening into the flour. Once everything is incorporated, begin adding in the water. Add enough water until your mixtures turns into a dough, making sure it is not too loose and not too wet. Form into a ball, and wrap it in plastic wrap, placing it in the refrigerator over night, or let it rest for at least four hours.
To make the meat mixture, heat the oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add in the diced onions and cook just until they begin to soften. Next, toss in your ginger and garlic paste, giving it a good stir and cooking for another minute. Next toss in your ground beef, breaking it up and mixing it along the way. Cook the meat until browned. Cover, allowing only a little space so that you can tip over and remove any excess fat.
Return the skillet back to the stove. Add in your tumeric, cumin, and cinnamon powder, as well as the thyme and diced habanero pepper. Give it a good stir, and continue to cook a few more minutes to incorporate those flavors. Next toss in your tomatoes and cooked rice, giving that a good stir, and cook a couple of more minutes. Add in your stock and rum. Cover, reduce the heat and cook for about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. You want to make sure you have all of the right seasoning before filling into your pie.
Remove the mixture from the skillet and place into a medium bowl, letting it come to room temperature.
When you are ready to make the meat pies, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Remove the dough from the refrigerator.
Dust your pastry board with the flour, and take approximately a baseball size piece of the dough, flattening it onto the board. Dust with flour. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough into about a six inch circle.
Add a few tablespoons of the meat mixture into the middle of the dough. You want enough dough in there to be able to fold over the dough, allowing for a good seal. Add the water to the beaten eggs, an brush along the edge of the dough. Fold and seal the pie. With a fork, crimp the edges of the pie and brush more of the egg wash on the top of the pie. Repeat until you make all of the pies, approximately 6-8 pies.
Place the pies onto a large baking sheet and cook in the oven for approximately 25-35 minutes or until golden. Carefully remove a pie from the sheet and plate.
The first thing you should note is the great color of the pie. It has a nice vibrant yellowish-orange color from the tumeric powder. When slicing into the pie, you are welcomed with a phenomenal smell, and while biting into one, you get this great texture that is just packed with the perfect amount of heat. The sweetness from the dough balances the heat from the habanero, making this pie truly comforting. Enjoy.