Sunday, September 22, 2013

Jamaican Beef Patty Pie

You've probably noticed by now that I thrive on routine. I like my life to be structured, organized, and predictable. I plan my work schedule weeks-to-months in advance. And I structure my home-life around fulfilling my basic needs: sleep, food, and fitness. On the food front, I traditionally meal plan sometime during the week, with my final decisions made on Saturday morning. I shop on Saturday evening (after the stores are mostly cleared-out of crazies). And I cook on Sunday afternoon.

Sometimes, though, my secondary needs (fun with friends, activities outside on beautiful Fall days, dates with CaveBoy, etc - not necessarily in that order) interfere with my routine. Take today for example: I'm headed to play outside with friends this afternoon, right in the middle of my normal cooking-block. But you know what? I have a plan for that, too!

On days like today, I plan meals that have only a few steps and require little babysitting. This helps me multi-task and still get everything done for the week in a compressed timeframe. I also split my cooking-block in half, starting the make-ahead steps (like baking sweet potatoes and chicken thighs) while I cook breakfast. I let them cool while I'm away (having fun) and then turn them into dinner when I get home.

Even though I am willing to skimp on time, I can't cut corners on flavor or creativity. Our cook-on-Sunday-eat-all-week plan only works if the food can hold our interest over multiple meals. Otherwise we end up in the drive-thru seeking bun-less burgers. And that's a waste of everything.

This Jamaican Beef Patty Pie recipe was born out of my need for a simple, flavorful, babysitting-free, paleo (actually Whole30-approved) casserole that I can whip up in a flash on days like today. It's a pie in the sense of Shepherd's Pie or my recently invented Drover's Pie.

The flavors are based on a Jamaican Beef Patty recipe I found on Martha Stewart's website. And the cooking method for the Mashed Plantain also comes from Ms. Martha (hey - use your resources, right?). But make no mistake, the execution is all Silly Little CaveGirl.

This recipe was such a mega-hit with CaveBoy that I know I've created an instant classic!

Jamaican Beef Patty Pie

Guaranteed* to wow everyone at your next pot-luck!


3 lbs ground beef
6 ripe plantains
3 onions, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 scotch bonnet peppers, finely chopped
1 cup beef stock
1/4 cup olive oil + 1 table spoon
1/4 cup grass fed butter or ghee
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon potato starch (optional)
Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peal and slice each plantain in half lengthwise. Toss sliced plantains with 1 tablespoon olive oil and arrange cut-side down on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn plantains over. Return to oven and bake an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Mash plantains with a potato masher until they become a chunky purée. Add butter (or ghee) and 1 tablespoon curry powder, and stir to combine until butter is melted.

While the plantains are cooking, add 1/4 cup olive oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add diced veggies and ground beef and cook until beef is browned. Add 2 tablespoons curry powder, thyme, and beef stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 

If you're not on the Whole30, consider thickening it with 1 tablespoon potato starch mixed into a half cup of cold water. Add the potato starch slurry and stir continuously until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat. If you are on the Whole30, or are just keeping your diet super strict, simmer an additional 5 minutes to let more of the liquid evaporate. 

Grease a medium baking dish with coconut oil spray. Pour beef mixture into the baking dish and smooth into an even layer. Spoon mashed plantains on top, ensuring that meat mixture is evenly covered. Bake at 375 degrees until plantains begin to caramelize. About 10 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

Our peppers weren't very hot (nature!) so we served ours with extra hot sauce on the side.

*Note: I don't actually guarantee anything.

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