Jamaican Beef Bourekas

These moist and spicy hors d'oeuvres have become the favorite in the Reingold family. The unusual step of simmering the meat in water, then adding bread crumbs with the spices, removes any excess fat from the meat but develops the moist and fragrant filling.


Yield: 24
Preheat oven to 400° F.
Put flour, curry, and salt in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add shortening, cut into several portions, and pulse 5 times. With the motor running, add ice water slowly through the top of the processor. Continue to pulse the processor on and off until the dough forms a ball on the blade. If necessary, add a teaspoon or two of additional water if the dough is too dry to form a ball on the processor blade. Wrap the dough in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or or as long as overnight.

Heat the oil in a small frying pan, and sauté the onion and beef in the oil. Cook until there is no more red showing in the meat (about 5 min.). Stir in 1/2 cup water and the jalapeno peppers. Cover and slowly simmer over very low heat for 30 min. Drain the water from the meat and onion mixture. Add the spices and bread crumbs.

Bring the pastry to room temperature for about 10 minutes. Divide the pastry into 24 pieces, and roll each piece into a circle, either with a rolling pin or with your fingers, or even better, with a tortilla press. Fill each circle with 1/24 of the filling, and close, pressing the edges together, and then smoothing the entire pastry between the palms of both hands. This forms a rounded half-moon shape. Place the bourekas on a baking sheet, and bake 25-30 minutes at 400°.

In hot weather, these bourekas are terrific with a cold, sweet soup such as Mango-Melon Soup. During the winter, they form a hearty first course with Lentil or Split Pea Soup.

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