Monday, February 23, 2009

CSA week 12 - Jamaican callaloo patties

I apologize for the quality of the pictures this post. I left my camera at work so I had to fall back on using my cell phone's camera.

I'm surprised this idea for using callaloo hasn't come up earlier. It's kind of obvious and doesn't seem all that tough. But then I'm writing as I go along. We'll see just how difficult it turns out to be. I looked through a bunch of different recipes and am using bits from a few different ones here.

It's a three step process: make the dough, make the filling and then make the patties. Let's start with the dough:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup butter, cold
1/4 cup lard, cold (margarine and suet or shortening are more traditional, but I used what I've got)
1/3 - 1/2 cup cold water

1. In large bowl, combine flour, curry, turmeric and salt. Cut in fat until the mixture gets crumbly. Gradually mix in water until the mixture coheres enough to form a ball of dough. I found I used a little over 1/3 cup of water. Try not to work it too much so the gluten doesn't form.

2. Wrap the dough in plastic and put it in the refrigerator to rest and chill while you make the filling.

3/4 pound callaloo
a handful of Swiss chard stems saved from last week
1/2 large red onion, chopped (I don't think red is authentic but it's what I've got)
1 Tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 hot pepper, chopped (optional)
1/3 cup salt cod, soaked and drained (surprisingly not an authentic addition, but what else am I going to do with this stuff?)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup water

1. Wash callaloo and separate thick stems from leaves. Don't dry the leaves.

2. Roughly chop leaves and cut stems into 1/2 inch pieces.

3. Sauté onion, garlic and pepper in butter on medium high heat. When it becomes aromatic add the stems and maybe some cooking oil if you think it needs it and cook two minutes longer.

4. Add leaves, salt cod, water, a bit more cooking oil and stir. Turn down heat to medium low, cover and cook for 7 minutes. Thy to leave it a little undercooked since it's going to get baked later. Adjust seasoning, remove from pan leaving most of the liquid behind and set aside to cool.

5. Mash up the callaloo mixture to smooth it out a bit.

work surface
rolling pin (with tapered ends if you've got that sort)
small bowl
smaller bowl

0. Fill your smaller bowl with cold water. Or maybe with the liquid you left in the pan earlier.

1. Remove dough from refrigerator. Tear off a tangerine-sized piece and toss it in flour.

2. Place dough piece on work surface and roll out from center. Turn dough, work surface, pin or yourself 60 degrees around the circumference of the dough and roll again. Repeat until the dough is about 1/8 inch thick and your small bowl, upside down, can fit neatly in the center with excess on all sides. Slice off the excess, return it to the rest of the dough, and remove the bowl. This, I found, was not nearly as difficult as I expected.

3. Place a spoonful of filling on the top half of your dough circle. How much depends on how small your small bowl is. Dip your fingers in the cold water and run them around the outer edge of the dough circle until it starts feeling sticky. Fold the bottom half of the circle over the top half and press down around the edge until it sticks. You may have to stretch the dough a little if you used a lot of filling which seemed to work OK for me. Crimp all around the edge with a fork. Set aside.

4. Pull off another piece of dough. I tried to include some of the previously rolled dough in each new piece so the gluten that formed during rolling would be distributed in all of the patties, but I don't know if that was actually a good idea or not. Roll and fill until you're all out. I had enough filling and dough for 6 1/2 patties about the same size as the patties I used to buy in New York.

5. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes until golden brown. Let cool slightly before eating.

That actually was pretty easy, didn't make too much of a mess considering and only took an hour or so of work all told. I'm really impressed by how light and flaky the crust turned out while still being sturdy enough not to burst during baking. I think this may be the first patty, or empeñada for that matter, I've ever had with a decent crust. I suppose that may have something to do with all that butter and lard.

The filling seems to have lost a little of its flavor, or maybe it's just too hot to let sit on the tongue long enough to taste. Spice it a bit more before filling or condimentize with a little jerk sauce when you're eating and you're set. As they cooled I got a bit more flavor but it's still not wowing me here. Not bad, but honestly, I prefer the beef patties.


kat said...

I'm sure you'll figure out how to up the flavor. I'm a big fan of these meals in a pocket

cintia said...

I've been making empanadas (similar concept) with the greens that have to be cooked. I cook the greens, add an onion, ricotta cheese, any other cheese I have in the house, 2 eggs and then fill the empanadas (I buy them premade from an Argentine market. My favorite brand is La Saltena.)

LaDivaCucina said...

Why not make the beef with the greens too? I like your concept, keep going! You know me and dough, I might even try it myself!

billjac said...

I considered doing a beef with greens patty instead of the straight greens, but I'm more comfortable keeping pretty traditional my first time out of the gate on a new dish. That gives me a baseline I can use to judge my experiments.

Next time I get callaloo I'm making fritters. But the time after that, beef and greens patties, definitely.