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jamaican beef patty filling recipe

August 31, 2009

Ask 10 grounded people the most popular food to come out of Jamaican and you’re bound to get the same 10 responses –the Jamaican beef patty.  Quintessentially Jamaican, flavorful, spicy, and tasty (not to mention beyond fulfilling after bar hopping beer-a-thons and a great vehicle for late night hot sauce eating contests), it’s the one item sold in the most random of places.  And by random I mean pizza shops, neighborhood convenience stores, the very back of your grocer’s freezer, and just everything in between.

Far from food

Far from food

Getting back to the topic at hand, the best part of the Jamaican beef patty is the filling —the outside, yellow tinted crust is more of a delivery mechanism -not that there’s anything wrong with that.  In an attempt to cook the best part of the patty and save a bit of time, this recipe is just for the filling and makes a great main course.  Bonus points as it’s 100 times better, more flavorful, and complex than those so called pizza shop, neighborhood convenience store, and freezer beef patties.


1 lb ground beef –I used 85-90% lean

2 TBS vegetable oil

1 medium onion, diced

3 finely chopped scallions, green and white parts

3 minced cloves of garlic

1-2 habanero peppers (remove the seeds and ribs if you can’t take the heat)

A half inch piece of ginger, finely minced

1 tsp dried thyme

2 TBS curry powder.  Use Jamaican betapak if you have it, though Indian madras (yellow curry powder) works just as well.

2 tsp ground allspice

.5 cup plain bread crumbs

Salt and pepper to taste

A handful of frozen loose peas.


Heat the oil and 1 tsp of the curry in a large skillet over medium heat.  Fry for about 1 minute.

Add the onion, scallion, ginger, garlic, habanero, and salt to taste and cook for 5 minutes.

Chop a thon

Chop a thon

Mellow yellow

Mellow yellow

Add the ground beef and break it up with a spoon.  Cook for about 8 minutes (or until cooked) and drain the fat.

Add the remaining curry powder, thyme, and allspice and stir to combine, allowing a crust to form on the bottom of the pan.

Add about a half cup of water and scrape the crust off the bottom.



Mix in the breadcrumbs (it should be thick and mushy…adjust if necessary) and cover for about 15 minutes over low heat.

After 15 minutes scrape the crust on the bottom, add the peas, taste for seasoning, and serve.

Serve with:

Jamaican rice and peas, Caribbean style pineapple habanero hot sauce, a simple green salad, and red stripe galore.

Jamaican patty who?!

Jamaican patty who?!

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