Taste of Jamaica

If you have been to Jamaica you have undoubtedly enjoyed a taste of true Jamaica in their  special snack food of Jamaican patties. They are usually available in either beef or chicken and if you are lucky maybe lamb. Our favorite is for sure the Jamaican chicken patty. It is a simple delicacy beyond belief. It makes the perfect lunch or snack. It is delicately flavored with curry and cumin and jerk seasoning. To know Jamaican patties is to love them. We saw some frozen variety at the airport and considered buying them, but as usual I figured I could make them better at home with a little research and a little effort. Tonight I set out to re-create the perfect Jamaican chicken patty with a little help from the internet and a little improvisation.

I figured that if I researched the perfect empanada dough I would be pretty close to the crust and then I just needed some filling with heavy Jamaican seasoning and a little spice. After reading a few Food TV recipe suggestions and adding a bit of my own flare I set out on my first attempt at Jamaican patties at about 8 p.m. tonight with a glass of good South African rose and some reggae on the radio in the background.

For the dough I set up a basic pastry dough with some turmeric for color and some and some cumin for flavor. I used the following ingredients:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • cracked pepper to taste
  • 2/3 cup of cold water

I mixed the flour with the salt and turmeric and cumin and then I cut the butter and shortening into the mix  until it was a coarse meal. Then I added the cold water and molded into a dough and separated into two portions and rolled them into equal size logs about 6 inches long. I set those aside covered them under a moist towel and started on the filling.

For the filling I used:

  • 2 pounds ground chicken
  • 2 large onions finely chopped
  • 8 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked pepper
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Pick a Pepper sauce or comparable
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • any additional spices you like or feel it needs for heat
  • 1/2 a cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 a cup of white wine any type

I cooked the onions in the olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Then I added the garlic and cooked for 2 minutes. I then added the ground chicken along with the salt, pepper, cumin and curry powder and cooked until the chicken was brown and cooked through breaking up the chicken constantly until it was a fine ground. After the chicken was cooked I added the white wine, pepper sauce, worcestershire sauce, wine and other seasonings and breadcrumbs and mixed until it was a stuffing like paste. I let the mixture cool for about a half and hour while I prepped the dough for the patties.

Take the dough and cut it into six equal size discs and then roll them out one at a time into six inch circles about a 1/4 inch thick. You may need some flour to help in this process. Place a generous spoonful of the meat mixture in each circle one at a time and fold over into a half moon shaped pastry. Pinch down with fingers and then crimp with fork. Place each patty one at a time on a parchment lined baking sheet and just before baking brush all of them with an egg wash and bake in a 375 degree oven until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.

In the end you will have about 10-14 perfect half moon shaped Jamaican chicken patties which can be eaten right away or cooled, wrapped in foil and re-heated as needed. I was so impressed with the results of my first ever attempt at these amazing delicious treats. I would say if you think you can’t do it that you should lose those feelings an go for it! These are really easy and totally delicious.


Can’t think of anything to say except for Ya Mon and Respect

Peacefully loving Jamaica and can’t wait to go back. One Love…



About Jim Herbert

I've been wanting to write my whole life. By age 45 it had amounted to nothing more than a storage locker of half full journals and a lot of unfulfilled dreams. Then Paris in the fall of 2011 happened. It was the catalyst I needed to consistently blog. At first I had a hard time hitting the publish button, but now two blog sites and over 300 posts later I'm hitting my stride. I'm also a budding speech writer. I've recently been heavily involved in the Chicago Storytelling scene and have also won the Chicago Toastmasters Area 66 International Speech Contest. Check out our website at www.emergingintojoy.com for more details about the amazing things that are happening in my life. A book or two are nearing completion. With another Paris trip on tap for Easter of 2015 I can only imagine that there are Infinite Possibilities on the horizon!!!
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