How to make ground beef treats from abroad
International ground beef recipes are easy to adapt.
Here are some new ways to present an American staple. Ground beef treats from abroad adapt beautifully with some American ingenuity. Both 'pasties' from the Cornwall coast of England and 'patties' from Jamaica can be made in grab-and-go individual servings or as a single sit-down main dish.
Although most traditional recipes call for chopping all the ingredients including the beef, a wonderful quick version of this all-in-one sandwich can be made using ground beef, grated vegetables and refrigerated crescent rolls. Cornwall's coal miners used to carry these easy packets in their dinner buckets.
To Make 12 Pasties
2-3 packages refrigerated crescent rolls (you will use 2 rolls for each pasty, 24 total)
1½ lbs. lean ground beef
A little oil for the pan
1 large onion, grated (drain juice)
2 large potatoes, grated into a colander (squeeze the juice out)
1 purple-topped white turnip and/or 2 large carrots
Salt and pepper to taste
Can of beef gravy (optional)
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tsp. water
Cook onion in oil until soft, then add ground beef and cook until it loses color. Add drained potato, turnip and/or carrots. Stir to mix thoroughly, then add salt and pepper. Simmer until vegetable juices soak into mixture.
Unroll crescent rolls and spread dough slightly to make the traditional half-moon pasty shape. Put a big spoonful of meat mixture on 12 of the rolls. Add a teaspoon of gravy to each spoonful of filling if you like moist filling.
Cover with 12 remaining rolls, crimping edges together. Use a bit of egg water mixture if tops and bottoms do not want to stick together. Prick steam vent holes with a fork in pasty tops and glaze lightly with egg water mixture.
Place on a lightly-oiled cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes until golden brown and contents bubble. Check to see if done at 20 minutes.
Hint: to cut the carbs and use this recipe for an easy dinner, use 1 - 2 packages of crescent rolls to line and cover a 9-inch pie pan. Pat together the seams of 6 rolls, overlapping slightly to cover the pan bottom. Reserve the other 6 rolls for a top crust. Reduce ground beef to just over 1 lb., adjust grated vegetable quantities slightly and spread ½ can of gravy over the top of the meat filling. Add top crust and prick steam vent holes with fork. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 - 35 minutes until crust is brown and contents are bubbling.
Jamaican Beef Patties
Again, the word 'pastry' changes to make a different kind of all-in-one sandwich. Curry is the predominant seasoning in 'patties,' sometimes augmented by annatto oil which turns the crust a distinctive yellow and adds a mildly mysterious but delicious taste.
Before you begin, you may be able to find Jamaican patties in your supermarket freezer case just to get the taste of the original article. One caution: Jamaican residents will tell you that American versions lack the intense 'heat' of Scotch-Bonnet peppers which are among the hottest peppers in the world.
In this Americanized version, red pepper flakes will provide a suggestion of heat but proceed with caution if you find use Scotch-Bonnets from your store's ethnic food section.
To Make 12 Patties
2/3 packages of refrigerated crescent rolls (24 rolls in all)
½ tsp. curry powder to dust crescent roll dough, if you like (tops only)
1 lb. lean ground beef
A little oil for the pan
1 small white onion, chopped fine
½ tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. curry powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (1/2 tsp. if your family likes 'heat')
¼ c fine dry breadcrumbs
¼ c beef or chicken stock
1 egg beaten with ¼ c water (glaze)
In a skillet, sauté onion and red pepper flakes until onion is limp. Add ground beef and all other seasonings. Cook until meat has lost its color. Add crumbs and stock. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Lay out 12 crescent rolls and cover center of each with 2 - 3 tablespoons of filling. Sprinkle patty top rolls with curry powder and put on patty filling with the curry powder side up. Crimp edges with a fork using a little egg-wash if top and bottom do not stick together. Prick steam vent holes and glaze with egg wash.
Bake at 400 degrees on a lightly greased cookie sheet for 30 to 40 minutes.
Hint: Like the Cornish pasty recipe above, this recipe can be recast to make a single 9-inch dinner meat pie in which you will need only 12 crescent rolls.
These are not the only ground beef treats from abroad and many foreign cuisines contain some form of meat-filled sandwich. With a little adaptation it's easy to build a large store of novel, delicious new family pleasers.