Making Mincemeat

Not many people make real mincemeat anymore. I think it’s high time we turned that trend around! Meat gives mincemeat a superior texture and flavor, not to mention a satisfying historical frisson that really completes the experience. Start by cooking your ground beef.

Drain it of excess fat, cool it, then place it in the bowl of a food processor.

Pulse it a few times until the pieces are quite small. Don’t go much beyond this point, since you don’t want a cooked meat paste.

The same goes with the dried fruit. If the blades of you food processor are reasonably sharp, you can take your currants for a spin in there.

But only about to here.

Same with the raisins.

With your meat and fruit chopped, place everything save the spices and brandy in a pot. Apples…cider…ah, this stuff really has the taste of Autumn in it.

Give it a good stir…

…and cook about two hours to this point:

Take the mincemeat off the heat, then add the spices and brandy.

Stir it all together, let it cool completely and refrigerate it. Once it’s chilled overnight, feel free to remove any fat that might have collected on the surface of the mixture. I let mine mellow in the fridge for about a week before I either bake it into pies or freeze it until the holidays. You may do with yours as you wish!

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9 Responses to Making Mincemeat

  1. Ron says:

    Joe,
    Ever since you’re been writing about mincemeat, I’ve been having a nagging feeling that you had covered this in a previous posting. Since I recalled that earlier post as seamlessly weaving the historical with the sociological with the culinary, I naturally assumed it was you, but clearly I was off-base. This weekend I finally searched it out and found the copy of this fine piece of participatory journalism from a couple years ago, written by your fellow Chicagoan: http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/mince-pie-the-real-american-pie/Content?oid=1267308

  2. Bronwyn says:

    That mince pie link is fascinating. I suspect that the ill effects of the pie may be due to the quantities eaten – our mince pies are little tiny tartlets, maybe 2 inches across and half an inch deep. One is considered a sensible serving, two if you’re a glutton. I shudder to think what I’d feel like after a wedge of pie like those in that article.

    • Brian Shaw says:

      We always had 9 inch pies, and big slices. It was often difficult to eat the last half of the slice! somehow I always left a clean plate, though.

      • joepastry says:

        Hey Brian!

        Yes, in the States it’s common to make bigger pies. The smaller hand-held variety are more common in other parts of the world. I sort of split the difference here. Even a 4-inch pie is really too much for one person, but I like the presentation.

  3. Brian Shaw says:

    Mince meat is what my grandmother made with venison neck. Venison neck was said to be the most worthless part of the animal. A few other parts come ti mind when thinking “low value” but at least that part went to good use and became a very tasty treat. I seem to recall it was made on the evening of the first day of hunting season and not consumed until Christmas… or if we couldn’t wait, Thanksgiving.

    • joepastry says:

      Again, that’s a North American thing: making mincemeat with venison. I’ve never tried that, but I’m sure it’s delicious!

      Thanks for the email, Brian!

  4. clare says:

    Hi Joe, I finaly have some dried suet sent from the UK. I have serched and serched your page but I can not find the ingredants for mince meat! Is it me? have I lost the plot? Help
    Clare

    • joepastry says:

      Hi Clare! That’s great news! Just look under the Pastry Components menu and you’ll see the recipe for mincemeat. Mince pies are under “Pies” in the Pastry menu.

      Let me know how things go!

      - Joe

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