Quarantine Provisions: Jamaican Meat Pies

As the COVID-19 global pandemic hits, we here in the US have entered the “self-quarantine” phase of things — staying at home and limiting personal contact, in an effort to slow the spread of the virus, so that our health care system isn’t overwhelmed.

I realize that not everyone is used to the work-from-home life, so I figured that I start a blog series, where I present recipes, with an eye toward things that are filling and good for many leftovers that can be popped into the microwave. First up: Jamaican Meat Pies.


Ingredients:

Pastry:
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 Tablespoon curry powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 cup solid shortening
• 1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 4 Tablespoons) cold margarine
• 1/3 cup icy cold water
• plus egg wash of 1 egg and 1/4 cup of water, whisked.

Meat Filling:
• 2 Tablespoons margarine
• 1 small white onion, finely chopped
• 1/2+ teaspoon of hot stuff, to taste (I didn’t have any scotch bonnets, as would be traditional, so I used a mix of Mrs. Renfro’s green salsa and cayenne pepper)
• 1 pound lean ground beef
• 1 teaspoon curry powder
• 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
• 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice berries
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
• 1/4 cup beef or chicken stock (I used chicken, because it’s what I had — and measurement is approximate/as needed. See below).

Preparation:
Pastry:
Put flour, curry powder and salt into food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add shortening and margarine. Pulse until mixture is crumbly. Add cold water and pulse just until a dough forms. Roll dough on a floured surface until thin (maybe 1/8″ thick?), and cut into roughly 8-inch diameter circles.

For the filling:
Saute onion and hot stuff in margarine over medium heat until onions are softened. Add ground beef, curry powder, thyme, allspice, salt, and pepper. Saute, stirring often, until beef is browned and broken apart, about 10 minutes.

Stir breadcrumbs into the ground beef and then add stock. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has been absorbed. It should not be watery, yet still remain moist, so add as much as is required to do this. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 F, and grease baking sheets (I just used butter on two medium-sized pans).
Place 3 tablespoons of the meat filling in the center of each pastry circle. Moisten the edges of the circles, fold in half, and seal edges with a pinch-and-fork method. Combine water and egg to make egg wash, and brush over tops of completed pastries.

Bake approximately 30-40 minutes until golden, and then let sit for 10 minutes to cool. Leftovers refrigerate well, and can be nuked in a minute or two for a quick meal.

Feel free to share your own quarantine recipes below, or drop them to me in email, and I’ll share them. More coming. Stay home, stay healthy, stay safe.

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