18. Try a New Dish

It feels so good to start crossing things off the list. I get a warm + fuzzy sensation in my heart as black ink soaks into the page, checking off the completed box. Okay, maybe that feeling has more to do with being in love and less to do with the list. Moving on...

18. Try a New Dish || sarahesh.blogspot.com

Number 18: Try a New Dish. I know I've mentioned it before on the blog, or perhaps it was my Instagram feed, either way, working in the kitchen is not my first love. I do it out of necessity; my family needs to eat. I prepare simple, healthy meals. Anything that takes more than 30 minutes of hands on time is ridiculous and doesn't often happen.

Two years ago, newly married, and overly ambitious, I searched Pinterest for recipe ideas that I was sure to make. One, among many, was Jamaican Patties. 

A popular lunch or snack item, these are a pastry pocket filled with curried beef, chicken or veggies. Often they are served with delicious coco bread. When I lived in Jamaica, this was something I ate often. It was affordable and oh so good! 

On Saturday, as I was searching my recipe pin board for something new and challenging to make, I noticed way at the bottom of the board the link for those Jamaican Patties. That was the one. I opened the link, browsed the ingredients, and went shopping for the only item I didn't have in my pantry - vegetable shortening. Everything else was on hand. 

I prepared the pastry dough. As that was chilling in the fridge, I mixed the meat filling. Like always, I did not stick to the recipe. It called for ground beef; I used venison and black beans instead. I also added hot sauce and a bit more curry seasoning. The salt was eliminated, and Italian seasoning was sprinkled in. After taste testing the mixture several times, it was finally perfect. 

The dough was rolled out into small circles, the meat mixture was spread over half of it, and then I folded the dough over to form a pocket and crimped the edges with a fork. After brushing each pastry with the egg wash, the tray was placed in the oven and the magic began.

Scents can be nostalgic. Smelling the curry wafting through my kitchen as the pastries baked brought back so many precious memories of that warm sunny island in the West Indies. A little bit of homesickness washed over me.

The timer beeped; I pulled the tray out of the oven and a squeal of delight probably escaped my lips. The patties looked perfect! Let me tell you folks, they did not disappoint! The crust was flaky and the filling burst with flavor. I opted to serve them with a spinach salad instead of coco bread. It was healthier and it meant less time in the kitchen. Win. Win.

I'm not sure why it took me two years and a birthday list to complete these, but I am so glad I finally tried. This is a recipe I will keep on file and use again, although it won't be on a regular basis, simply because it took well over thirty minutes to prepare and, as you already know, I just don't do that. 

You can find that amazing recipe, along with many other Jamaican gems here. Try it folks, you will be so glad you did.


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