Sunday, February 28, 2016

Jamaican “No-Beef” Patties #SundaySupper

Are you a sweet or a savoury pie person? If you ask me, more often than not you'll hear me wax poetic about the virtues of a perfectly balanced cherry pie, my mom's sugarless apple pastry, mincemeat tarts for my dad or even memories of my grandma's shoofly mini-pies. Obviously, I'm primed for dessert-pie territory. That said, after thinking about this week's #SundaySupper theme of "Pies - Sweet and Savoury", I realized I enjoy more savoury ones than I thought - many incarnations of cottage and tamale pie (a loose interpretation, granted), deep dish pizzas, Tourtière and Spanakopita.

I had even forgotten about one of the mainstays of my childhood excursions to the corner store after school - Jamaican Beef Patties! Perfectly packaged for on-the-go eating, flaky, spicy and just filling enough for lunch or an after school snack (if you were like me and most of my friends, who had a lunch period at 11:20AM and didn't eat dinner till 8), they were easily spied in the warming cases by their brilliant yellow pastry, the "hot" ones dotted with a single red spot you had to search for before biting into. Making them never occurred to me as a project, though, since I've always been the only one who enjoyed that level of heat, and now with my GI issues severely limiting the amount of fat I can ingest (and excluding meat entirely), any pastry concoction is basically out the window.

Jamaican “No-Beef” Patties
I love his filling over a bed of rice!
Right before Christmas last year, though, one of my students was asking me how to make them - her dad's birthday was coming up and she wanted to surprise him with patties and a birthday cake. Now, given that she was only 6, any kind of cooking in the kitchen would have to be supervised intensively, and though I planned to do an afternoon with her life on both ends got in the way. I had promised to make some, though - and in the spirit of using what I had on hand decided to make these almost 100% meat free by using the super-economical TVP I had in the pantry as a base, "fleshing" it out with broth, vegan Worcestershire and veggies and encasing it in a tallow-based pastry dough I had gleaned from an old cookbook of my mom's and spiked with curry powder and turmeric. The home-rendered tallow gave the crust the ultimate flake and just the right amount of "umami" without smelling or tasting like untrimmed steak. That said, I know now many people go about rendering beef fat for kicks at home (actually, I'm pretty sure that's just me...) but I would recommend finding quality suet or leaf lard from a butcher as a substitute, or if you wanted to make the whole recipe vegan swapping in either Earth Balance sticks or coconut oil.

Even without the pastry (which I obviously couldn't eat), the filling itself was divine - in fact better than the patties of my childhood. It's heavily dosed with allspice, thyme and Jamaican curry powder, is 100% vegan and is perfect over rice, stuffing a baked potato or mixing with roasted cauliflower. For the full monty though, nothing beats a true blue (or yellow) patty!

Jamaican “No-Beef” Patties

Sweet As Pie
Mealtime Pie

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Jamaican “No-Beef” Patties
Makes 15 large patties 

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
1 tbsp Jamaican-style curry powder
1 tbsp turmeric
2/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup tallow*
1 cup ice cold water (plus more on standby)

2 cups dry textured vegetable protein granules
1 ½ cups no-beef broth
2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp allspice
2 tsp Jamaican-style curry powder
¼ tsp cayenne (optional)
¼ tsp jalapeño powder (optional)
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp canola oil
1 large white onion, minced
1 medium acorn squash, peeled and coarsely shredded
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger
1 cup packed shredded kale
1 tbsp minced fresh thyme
2 tbsp ketchup
2 cups water
¼ cup kinako or dry breadcrumbs

* I rendered my own tallow, but you can use quality suet or leaf lard from a butcher.

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, curry powder and turmeric.
  2. Add the shortening and tallow and cut in until the mixture resembles small peas.
  3. Add half the water and stir with a fork to combine. Continue adding water, stirring gently, until a supple dough (slightly moister than traditional pastry) forms.
  4. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 24 hours.
  1. Combine the tvp granules, no-beef broth, vegan Worcestershire sauce, salt and spices in a bowl, cover and let stand 20 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil in a deep skillet over medium heat and add the onion and acorn squash. Cook 5-10 minutes, until onion begins to turn golden.
  3. Stir in the garlic, ginger, kale, thyme and soaked mixture and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add ketchup and water, stirring well.
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated and whatever is remaining has reduced to a thick sauce.
  6. Add the kinako and cook 1 minute.
  7. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  1. Divide the dough into four balls.
  2. Between sheets of waxed paper, roll out one ball into a large, thin circle (keeping remaining dough covered with a towel).
  3. Cut dough into circles about 5” across and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Place 3-4 (heaping) tablespoons of the cooled filling onto one half of each circle.
  5. Brush the edges of the pastry with water and fold the unfilled half over the filling. Press edges to seal.
  6. Crimp the edges with a fork.
  7. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
  8. Chill at least 1 hour (you can also freeze at this point and bake later, adding 10 minutes to the bake time).
  9. Heat the oven to 350 F.
  10. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 30 minutes.
  11. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack before enjoying!
NB: These are excellent cold as well, and freeze beautifully! Just reheat them (wrapped in foil) in a 350F oven for about 15 minutes, until hot throughout.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 378.8
Total Fat: 20.0 g
Cholesterol: 9.9 mg
Sodium: 370.3 mg
Total Carbs: 36.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.2 g
Protein: 12.3 g