I feel like a need a disclaimer here, because I have never been to Jamaica.
I can’t claim to be making these patties “authentically” because I use Irish ingredients. I am trying to replicate a much-loved flavour with this recipe – one I would often enjoy while waiting for the subway when I lived in Toronto.
Toronto is a super multi-cultural city. It boasts representation from nearly every country in the world and the food in the city is once again representative in this claim. In particular, Toronto has a large Caribbean population which is celebrated in the annual Caribana festival.
You can find really great Caribbean restaurants in Toronto, as well, specialising in jerk chicken, rotis and fried saltfish.
I'm not from Toronto, but I moved there to go to culinary school and ended up staying in the city to work in restaurants. Some of the friends I made in school were of Caribbean heritage and would regularly brag about the amazing food they would eat for family gatherings.
I personally loved the small vendors who would specialise in Jamaican patties; mainly in subway stations. Served warm, they would wrap them in paper and hand them over. Easy to eat on the go, you could take the patty with you on your journeys. Not that they last that long!
I started making them a few summers ago, when I was missing those Caribbean flavours. They aren’t difficult to make but do take a bit of time to prepare. The turmeric adds a lovely colour and mild spice to the pastry and, while I don’t think they're traditionally made with beer, I love simmering the minced meat in a pale ale for an added kick.
Makes 12 portions
For the pastry:
500g plain flour
250g cold, cubed butter (or beef drippings)
2 tsp ground turmeric
250ml ice water
For the filling:
900g minced rose veal or beef
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp freshly chopped thyme
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
250g diced onion
1 bunch finely sliced green onion
1 scotch bonnet pepper (or any chili pepper if you can't find scotch bonnets)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
200ml pale beer
200ml beef stock
Salt, to taste
Add the beer and gently cook on med-low for 20 minutes. Then, add the beef stock and continue to cook until the liquid has reduced to a sauce (about 30 minutes).