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.

Jamaican patties are a great summer snack.

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.

Irish-Jamaican patties

Jamaican patties are a decadently spiced pastry, usually filled with meat.

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

  • 1 Make the pastry: in a large bowl, add the turmeric, flour and salt. Rub the butter in with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • 2 Add the ice-cold water and mix lightly with your fingers until a loose dough forms.
  • 3 Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough a few times, just to smooth it out. Do not over-work the dough.
  • 4 Divide the dough into two portions, wrap in cling film and let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • 5 Make the filling: in a large frying pan, heat 2 Tbsp of coconut oil over medium-high.
  • 6 Add the onions to the pan and gently fry for 3-4 minutes. Then, add the garlic, scotch bonnet and green onion. Fry for another minute.
  • 7 Add the ground meat and spices. Brown the meat, then add the tomato paste. Stir to combine.

    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).

  • 8 Season to taste with salt and let cool slightly. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  • 9 Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out into a rough rectangle. Using a pastry cutter or pizza cutter, divide each dough half into 6 squares.
  • 10 Add 1-2 tbsp of filling to each square.
  • 11 Using egg wash as glue, fold each square over the filling and press the edges with a fork. Place the patties on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • 12 Egg wash over the tops of the pastries and bake in the hot oven for 15-20 minutes.
  • 13 Allow to cool slightly before eating. I like to eat mine with more hot sauce.