Christmas is over, it’s -20°, and the evenings are still dark before we get home from work. We’re all looking for fun and financially friendly ways to spice up the winter. Here at the President’s Choice Cooking School, we’re starting the year off right.
On January 14th, we’re hosting Chef Amanda Harrison with a “Low and Slow” slow-cooking class. Chef Amanda will talk to us about the art of braising, keeping gourmet with flair of comfort, and keeping your New Year’s plan of getting back on budget. Your menu of slow-cooked sensations includes: tasty Hot Onion and Cheese Soufflé Dip with Crostini; scrumptious Slow-Roasted Beef Stew with Red Wine, topped with a Potato Rosti Crust and served with crisp Cabbage Slaw and Glazed Heirloom Carrots; and rich, velvety Hot Chocolate Pudding with Rum Custard for dessert. The cost of this amazing night out is $30.
On January 29th, savour the flavours of the islands as Chef Stefanie Martin brings a touch of Caribbean sunshine to the cooking school. Her tastebud-tantalizing menu includes: tasty Spiced Crispy Baked Plantains; a Trinibago favourite of zesty Shrimp and Pumpkin Curry with traditional Red Beans and Rice; and, for dessert, you’ll enjoy a luscious Jamaican Coconut Pie. This fabulous night out of the cold is $30 per person.
If you need a little help spicing up your winter in the meantime, try my recipe for Jamaican Beef patties. You can either use the pastry recipe provided or phyllo pastry for a lighter, flakier version.
Jamaican Beef Patties
Makes 10 patties
- 2 cups (450 mL) flour
- 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) salt
- 1/2 tablespoon (7 mL) curry powder
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) solid shortening
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 60 mL) margarine
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) cold water
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) oil
- 1 small white onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) chopped Scotch bonnet pepper
- 1/2 lb. (227 g) lean ground beef
- 1/2 (2 mL) teaspoon salt
- 1/2 (2 mL) teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 (2 mL) teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 (2 mL) teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) beef or chicken stock
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) water
Prepare the pastry
- Sift the flour, curry powder, and salt into a large bowl. Cut in the shortening and margarine until crumbly. Add the cold water to make a stiff dough.
- Lightly flour a wooden cutting board and roll out the dough until about 1/8-inch (3 mm) thick. Cut out 8-inch (20 cm) circles.
- Cover the cut-out circles with wax paper or a damp cloth until ready to use. You can place the dough in the refrigerator overnight; if you do, remove the dough at least 15 minutes before using.
Prepare the filling
- In a heavy skillet, melt the margarine and sauté the onion and Scotch bonnet pepper until they become limp.
- Add the ground beef, salt, pepper, curry powder, and thyme and mix well. Brown the meat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the breadcrumbs and stock and combine all the ingredients well.
- Cover the skillet and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When all the liquids have been absorbed, the filling is ready (it should be moist but not watery).
- Remove the skillet from the stove.
- Mix the egg and water together in a separate container and set aside.
Make the patties
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200 °F).
- Uncover the dough circles and place 2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 mL) of filling on half of each.
- Moisten the edges of the dough with water and fold the dough circle over the meat filling. Pinch the edges closed with a fork.
- Lightly brush the pastry with the egg-water mixture.
- Bake on a lightly greased baking sheet for 30 to 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.