>We set up a pattie-making factory one hot afternoon, Eric, Orlando and I. We had been hankering for a proper West Indian pattie for a while and Eric was the resident expert. We would have liked saltfish patties but the salted cod here takes far too long to prepare – a full weekend for one side of salted cod. So we went with beef instead.
First, Orlando set about cooking the beef filling. He browned a large chopped onion, then added 800g of heart-smart minced beef, four large chillies (two red and two green) finely chopped, a decent dollop of old-fashioned curry powder and some Indian meat masala. When the meat was brown he added four medium potatoes which had been cooked, cooled and diced beforehand.
About a cup of beef stock was added to make the mixture moist, then about the same again of breadcrumbs to make sure the mixture bound enough for us to fill the patties.
Actually, we didn’t have breadcrumbs so we used cornflake crumbs instead – which I think worked better.
Meanwhile I coloured the pastry by painting it with turmeric, then rolled out the sheets and cut out large circular shapes using a breakfast bowl. I kept all the offcuts and Orlando insisted he would not waste a bit. He persevered, and from the scraps of five pastry sheets he got an extra size cutouts plus one tiny piece we made into a party pie. Then the factory line began.
Orlando placed a dessertspoonful of the beef mixture onto the pastry round. I wet the edge with water, folded it over and used a fork to seal the edges into a half moon shape.
Then once we had a full tray ready, Orlando brushed the top of with a beaten egg to glaze them. Not too many in a tray – we didn’t want to crowd them. Then into the oven at 200C for about half an hour.
The results were splendid: 26 perfectly golden, sturdily made patties with a rich beef filling with just enough bite to them. We ate two each on the spot (just to make sure they were ok).
Now we know how long it takes, and we have had a bit of practice, there is no stopping us. Two hours in the kitchen makes over two dozen patties. Only problem is, they take less time than that to polish them all off…