If you’re a fan of savory street food, you must try the West Indies Meat Patties! These delicious hand-held pastries are popular throughout the Caribbean islands and are made with a flavorful meat filling enclosed in a crispy crust. In this article, we’ll share our experience with the best Indies Meat Patties we’ve ever had and how you can make them at home.
If you’re planning a trip to the West Indies, make sure to try these tasty patties from a local food truck. During our time as a freelance charter cook aboard yachts sailing around the British and American West Indies, we discovered a food truck near the Ramada Yacht Haven Marina that made the best Indies Meat Patties we’ve ever tasted. The West Indian cook who owned the food truck prepared these savory fried patties every day except Sundays. However, you’ll need to get there before 1 p.m. to try them, as they tend to sell out fast!
Indies Meat Patties are a version of Spanish empanadas or Cornish meat pies, and every island has its own unique version. In St. Thomas, the patties are made with a picadillo filling that combines spicy hot Scotch Bonnet chilies with just a hint of allspice, a local spice berry indigenous to the Caribbean. The patties have a shortcrust envelope that is fried to perfection, resulting in a flaky and heavenly crispy texture on the perimeter. One patty is never enough!
To make Indies Meat Patties at home, you can use Goya Discos, which are available at Walmart and Latin markets. Alternatively, you can use Pillsbury pie crusts from the dairy section of your supermarket. One double crust package will make six 5-inch patties. You can experiment with different fillings and spices to create your own version of this classic Caribbean street food.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a tasty and satisfying snack, try the West Indies Meat Patties. They’re a popular street food throughout the Caribbean islands, and every island has its own unique version. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to try this savory delight during your next visit to the West Indies, or make them at home using Goya Discos or Pillsbury pie crusts.
Irresistible West Indies Meat Patties
Ingredients for meat filling:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil - or bacon drippings
- 1 pound ground beef (minced beef) - lean
- 1 medium onion - chopped fine
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 teaspoon thyme - or 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice (also called pimento or Jamaican Pepper)
- 1 teaspoon Sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper - fresh
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin - optional
- ¼ cup cilantro (coriander) - fresh, chopped (optional)
- 1 cup water
Ingredients for patty dough:
- 3⅓ cup all purpose flour (plain flour Australia and UK)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 medium egg - well-beaten
- ¾ cup water - cold or ice water
- 1 liter Vegetable oil - for frying
Method to prepare filling:
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and fry until crumbly and brown. Remove meat and keep warm.
- Saute onions, garlic, chilies, and bell peppers until translucent and just starting to brown.
- Add tomatoes, herbs, and spices. Stir to combine.
- Add back the cooked meat. Stir and add water. Bring to a boil.
- Lower heat to a simmer and cook until nearly all liquid evaporates. (You want this to be moist but not soupy.)
- Let cool until ready to assemble patties. It may be made a day in advance.
Method to prepare patty dough:
- Mix flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl.
- Cut shortening into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter.
- Whisk the egg and water together well.
- Add the liquid mixture to the flour and toss using a fork until the flour is moistened and can be formed into a ball. Do not over handle the dough.
- Divide the dough into 2 pieces, wrap it with plastic, and chill for 20 minutes.
- Sprinkle the countertop and rolling pin with flour. Roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness and cut out 5-inch circles. A saucer works well for this.
- Place 2 tablespoons of filling on each pastry disc slightly off-center.
- Fold pastry in half over filling. Crimp the edges with a fork dipped in flour.
- At this point, you may freeze patties on a baking sheet and place them in a bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. To cook, thaw and bake or fry as directed here.
- If baking patties, preheat the oven to 400° F. and bake for 15-20 minutes.
- If frying, in a large skillet, pour 1-½ inches of oil and heat to 375° F. Slide 2 or 3 patties into the hot oil and cook until the first side is golden brown. Turn and cook until brown on the second side.
- Remove patties to paper towels or brown bags to drain. Serve hot.