A million years ago, I lived in a tiny one bedroom basement apartment in the university district of Waterloo. Those were the days when the life sustaining acts of sleeping and eating were a nuissance - nothing more than an obstacle in the daily quest for party time. Back then we drank a lot of Red Bull and ate nothing that couldn't be defrosted or cooked by someone else.
Sometimes, I lie awake at night wondering how many years I shaved off my life during my stint as a university student.
While the produce portion of the refrigerator was shockingly empty for four solid years, the freezer compartment was loaded full of industrial-sized trans fats, refined sugars, mystery meat and a shocking number of things labeled "Atkins-friendly" that I vehemently believed were going to one day make me skinny.
I've come to learn that 99% of things that are meant to be stored in North American freezers will actually have the opposite effect on your waistline. And it only took me four years of university to realize this.
Regardless, next to frozen pizzas and microwaveable dinners, one of our freezer staples in those days was a 30-pack of Jamaican patties, purchased in the "club" section of the supermarket. And while I had no quams digesting some highly questionable crap in those days, the Jamaican patties that Paul used to buy were even too sketchy for me. He loved them though, and when he stopped eating meat he stopped eating those too.
The latest edition to my cookbook army is Bryant Terry's Vegan Soul Kitchen and out of the dozens of recipes in it that I bookmarked during my first glimpse through, something about the Jamaican patties seemed inevitable as the first thing to try.
I am generally terrible at making dishes that require a homemade crust or dough. I don't understand what it is that I do wrong, because I am certainly not brave enough to attempt creating a dough recipe on my own and instead use a recipe that has been published and printed and is assumed to be tried, tested and true. Regardless, it never works out for me! I'm going to go ahead and blame the oven I use or the flour manufacturers or the humidity in my kitchen or the way the moon aligns the sun every single time that I attempt it.
Because dough/crust-making can be both a tedious and meticulous process, whenever I fail at one of these projects I usually just scrap the recipe in an a declaration of defeat rather than try to tweak it at a later date.
So, I approached these Jamaican patties with a lot of apprehension and a little bit of caution and before I even began measuring flour I told Paul to prepare for disaster.
Imagine my surprise when I pulled the dough out of the fridge (after letting it sit an hour and a half or so) and it not only held together but also rolled out with minimal resistance and looked the gorgeous yellow-ish colour it was supposed to (thanks turmeric!).
Using a bowl to cut the dough into 6" circles is a very useful tip from Mr. Terry, although next time I think I'll make four really big patties rather than six medium-sized ones. However, the 6" circles are great if serving the patties as an appetizer or starter - they would make a great party food, fanned out on a plate with a bowl of hot sauce in the middle.
For the filling: Potatoes, carrots, cabbage, corn, and peas tossed with spices and made thick and creamy with coconut milk.
Ready for the oven!
The shell is flaky and savoury, the filling spicy and slightly sweet from the coconut milk - what a combo! Topped off with an additional few drops of cayenne hot sauce and you are ready to go.
To go with the patties I made a coleslaw, also from Vegan Soul Kitchen. I will note, however, that I am a huge cheater when it comes to cabbage and I buy those terrifying "prepackaged" coleslaw bags of the sort that always seem to end up on the news because of E. Coli concerns. I just can't be bothered to mess with shredding a massive head of cabbage and so I tend to take my chances with the E. Coli - don't judge! In making this salad I just used Bryant's dressing (which is delicious, by the way) and tossed it with a bag of shredded cabbage, let it marinate for a couple hours and then tossed in sesame seeds and a little extra hot sauce.
Find the recipe for the Jamaican patties here.
I think Bryant Terry and I are going to be great friends.