Saturday, December 3, 2011

Mincemeat 2011

I might be in love with the idea of mincemeat more than the dish itself. It's an absolutely medieval combination of flavours: dried fruit, spices, liquour, and suet.

Last year I tried Alton Brown's recipe.  It was good, though not what I was expecting. His pie is fruity, tart, and sweet.  The texture was unique: the dried fruit partially reconstitutes during baking, making for an interesting chew.

This year I made some changes:
  • I added meat to my mince.  Most recipes, including Brown's, contain only suet, but I know that my grandmother's also had beef chuck.  I heavily browned the meat before adding it to the other ingredients to develop flavour texture.
  • I used lamb suet and shoulder, instead of beef.  I happen to have lots of lamb right now.
  • I processed the mixture for a finer, more consistent texture
  • I plan on adding bread crumbs to the mincemeat before I bake it in a pie shell.  Last year the liquor and fruit juices and rendered suet bubbled over the crust.  I think that the bread crumbs will help keep that moisture in the pie.
This mincemeat will age in my fridge until the winter solstice.  I'll let you know how it turns out.

2011's version, grafting my grandmother's recipe to Alton Brown's, and using lamb instead of beef

  • 2 tart apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 8 oz sultana raisins
  • 4 oz dried sour cherries
  • 4 oz dark brown sugar
  • 2 ounces lamb suet, coarsely chopped
  • 6 oz ground lamb shoulder
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup spiced rum
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground clove
  • bread crumbs
  1. Heavily brown the ground lamb in a hot, heavy-bottomed stainless steel pan.  The meat should be a deep amber on all surfaces.  Strain the meat to separate it from any rendered fat.  Chill thoroughly.
  2. Combine all ingredients except bread crumbs in a food processor.  Pulse until ingredients are well-combined and desired texture is achieved.  Pulsing 10 times will give a mincemeat with a coarse texture.  I prefer a finer, more homogeneous texture.
  3. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge atleast 1 week before using.  Keeps for 6 months.
  4. Before adding to pastry, fold in breadcrumbs.

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