Meat pies are undoubtedly one of the most satisfying on-the-go meals when you’re cruising. We mentioned a similar recipe, Jamaican Meat Pies, last season. This is a slightly spicier take on those, using chicken instead of beef. But warning: they are time consuming to make, so plan ahead and be prepared. The right atmosphere will help…a sunny, breezy cabin with all the ports and hatches open, some reggae music piped in and a Red Stripe or two…to get you through rolling out a couple dozen miniature pie crusts. Nothing that any Galley Pirate can’t take in stride!
Jerk Chicken Filling
1 onion, finely chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
3/4 cup chopped pineapple
2 habañero (scotch bonnet) peppers, seeds removed and minced
½ teaspoon allspice powder
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon white pepper
5 scallions (green onions) chopped
1 teaspoon salt or more, adjust to taste
2 lbs. ground chicken
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
Try to use fresh produce whenever you can. That’s sometimes not easy when you’re cruising, but all of these beautiful ingredients can be substituted with canned or powdered varieties.
Cut the rind off 3 slices of pineapple, core, and cut into very small chunks.
Mince 4-5 garlic cloves and finely chop the onion.
Skin a large knob of ginger and mince.
You should have about equal parts of garlic and ginger.
Now comes the tricky part if you don’t have plastic gloves. Slice the tops off two habañero (scotch bonnet) peppers. Without touching the inside of the peppers, cut the center core and seeds out. Mince the remaining pepper skins, chopping with a large knife. The inside of the pepper is where the heat is. If you do accidentally get the pepper oils on your hands do not rub your eyes! Scotch Bonnets are merciless! But Pirates love them!
Light your galley stove and brown the 2 lbs of ground chicken over a medium flame, adding the garlic, onions, ginger and minced habañero. Continue to stir as you fry.
Once the chicken mixture starts to brown add the pineapple, chopped scallions and the rest of the seasonings. Cook until fully browned. Then stir in the bread crumbs and take the pan off the heat. Now finish up that first Red Stripe before it gets warm and prepare the pastry. You can take a breather here.
Jerk Chicken Pie Crust
4 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup of butter, chilled
1/2 cup vegetable shortening or lard
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/2 cup very cold water
With a fork, crumble together the flour, butter, shortening and seasonings until it all resembles course gravel.
Add vinegar and water and knead into a large ball. If the dough is still flaky and doesn’t hold together well, add more water. It should be very springy.
Preheat your galley oven to over 400 degrees.
Taking pieces of the dough that are about the size of a kiwi, roll out onto a floured surface until about 1/8th inch thick. Cut circles with a bowl.
Place a spoonful of the cooled meat mixture in the middle of the pastry.
It’s best to wet the edges with a little egg/water mixture. I was short on eggs so just damped the edge with water.
Press to seal with a fork. Do this to all the pies. Place on greased baking sheets. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to go in the oven.
You should end up with about 24 pies. Whew! Thank goodness for Red Stripe! Hooray beer!
Place the baking sheets, one at a time, in your preheated galley oven. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden.
Once the pies are baked and out of the oven, I like to individually wrap them in parchment paper and freeze…ready for the intended cruise.
And the intended cruise for this grab-n-go meal was about 30 miles offshore, off the coast of Georgia. We reheated the pies in this lovely galley with the equally lovely galley chef, Torie, not deserving to be labeled a pirate.
These were partially frozen and reheated for about 20 minutes in a galley oven at 350 degrees.
They were served piping hot in the full enclosed cockpit. And since most sailors, including we Galley Pirates and respective captains, have a NO ALCOHOL OFFSHORE policy, we had to wait for our Red Stripe at the next port!