About once a year I toy with the idea of making homemade Jamaican beef patties after having one too many stale, microwaved corner store patties. I get all fired up, spend hours reading recipes but then I start thinking about having to find beef rennet for the dough and all of that work and muse to myself "since I have to get on the subway anyway to go find this beef rennet, why not just drop by Bathurst station and buy myself a delectable beef patty and skip all that work?" and that is usually what I do. One bite of that hot, juicy meat pie and all thoughts of beef rennet fly away. Have you ever had the patties at the Bathurst Subway Station???
So, there is a bit of a contest going on over at the Food Bloggers of Canada and I am not one to resist a contest. Mushrooms Canada and Ontario Beef have teamed up to promote their new concept, Blend and Extend. The idea is that you replace some of the ground beef with finely chopped mushrooms in your favourite recipes to add a serving of vegetables to the dish as well as adding more volume to it and stretching the meat out so it goes further. If you look on the Blend and Extend website , you will find a whole whack of recipes, videos and ideas on how to get blending and extending.
For the contest, we were asked to come up with an original appetizer recipe using this blend and extend concept. It just so happens that I have been on one of my "maybe I should try making these things myself" jags, but, as much as I love them, beef patties don't really scream "lovely app to serve at a party". I needed to come with an appetizer but I only wanted to make Jamaican patties. What to do.
|Spicy filling encased inside a buttery puff pastry shell on a stick. Get out of town.|
I remembered how much everyone loved my Brie Pops and wondered if puff pastry would work in place of the traditional patty dough. Patty dough is certainly heartier than puff pastry but they are both flaky and rich and I couldn't see any reason why puff pastry with a turmeric egg wash wouldn't work. The addition of the mushrooms to the filling worked perfectly allowing me to use less meat and the moisture they release, often a dilemma to be dealt with, actually helped keep the filling nice and moist.
A word about the scotch bonnet peppers; even if you don't like spicy food, the scotch bonnet is a vital ingredient in Jamaican cuisine. Not only does it add heat, sitting firmly in them 100,000-350,000 range of the scoville scale, but they have a fruity flavour that can't really be replicated. Just make sure to start with a half a pepper and taste and keep adding until it's at a heat level that you are happy with. If you truly can't get your hands on a scotch bonnet, a fresh habanero is your best bet but if all else fails, use a jalapeno but you will lose the fruitiness of the scotch bonnet so do try to find them if you can.
Oh, and if you chop these peppers with your bare hands, don't rub your eyes, pick your nose or put those fingers anywhere else for the rest of the day. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Jamaican Patty Pops
makes approx 24 appetizer sized patty pops or 8 full sized patties
Ingredients:2 sheets of puff pastry, thawed but still cold
1 egg beaten with splash milk and 1/2 tsp turmeric
Kosher salt or fleur de sel and fresh thyme
2 tbls butter
250 grams ground beef
100 grams button mushrooms (approx 4 large), rough chop
1 onion, rough chop
3 scallions, greens included, rough chop
2 cloves garlic, rough chop
1 scotch bonnet pepper, seeded and chopped or to taste
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp kosher salt
a few grinds of fresh, black pepper
1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
between 1/4 and 1/2 cup chicken stock
Directions:First whiz up your bread to make your fresh crumbs. I use a crusty Italian style bun and put aside.
Next, throw your mushrooms into the food processor and pulse until finely ground and put aside.
Now, put the onion, scallion, garlic and scotch bonnet pepper into the food processor and pulse until minced.
Melt the butter over medium heat in a frying pan and saute the scallion mixture for about five minutes until softened but not browned. Using a spatula, scrape the mixture out into a bowl and set aside. Now add the ground mushrooms and the beef to the pan and start to cook it, smashing the beef down with your spatula as you stir so that you don't end up with big chunks of meat. You want the meat/mushroom mixture to be crumbly.
When it's almost cooked, add the scallion mixture back into the pan and continue to cook until there is no pink colour at all left to the meat.
Throw in the curry, allspice, salt and pepper, bread crumbs and 1/4 cup of chicken stock and stir well to combine. Cover the pan and let it cook for about ten minutes, checking it from time to time to make sure it's not getting too dry. You want it to be very moist but not liquidy so if you need to , add a slurp more stock during this time to keep the mixture the right consistency.
Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature while you prepare the rest of the stuff. You can make this a day ahead and refrigerate it until you need it as well.
Preheat the oven to 375F
Lay out one of your sheets of puff pastry ( I worked with it right on the parchment it was wrapped up in). Keep the other roll of pastry in the fridge until you need it. If you use something else, put a piece of parchment on to your baking sheet.
Cut it into thirds one way and then four strips the other so that you have 12 rectangles. Now, cut each rectangle in half so you now have 24 small rectangles.
Lay out 12 of the rectangles and brush each one with the egg wash and stick a little popsicle stick on to it, pressing lightly into the pastry. Put a heaping tbls of fillin in the middle. Top that with another piece of pastry and seal all four sides with the tines of a fork.. Prick two rows of holes on top and move to a parchment lined cookie sheet.
Repeat with the second roll of pastry and when you have all 24 pastry puffs on the cookie sheet, brush them all with the egg wash, lay a tiny sprig of fresh thyme on top of each one and sprinkle the whole thing with some coarse salt.
Pop those in the oven and cook them for about 15 minutes, until they have puffed up and are starting to brown a bit. they are best right out of the oven but are still really good at room temperature.
*if you want to make a large beef patty, just cut the sheet in half lengthwise and then in quarters the other way so that you end up with 8 larger rectangles, skip the popsicle stick and make 8 full size patties. The make a great dinner with a salad on the side.
They also reheat easily- just pop them on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350F oven for about 6 minutes.