Grandma Miller’s Homemade Mincemeat recipe was shared with me by Joy Chowning of Oregon. Joy says, “This is my great grandma Miller’s recipe for homemade mincemeat. This recipe is highly sought out by my friends and family and has been a family tradition for over a hundred years that I know of.”
Mincemeat is, very simply, a mixture of fruits and spices that are cooked with or without minced meat and generally doused with brandy, rum, or whiskey. It improves and becomes more moist as the weeks pass, so allow it to mature for at least four weeks before using.
2 pounds venison, elk, or beef chunks Water 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar 6 whole cloves 6 whole allspice 1 large bay leaf 1/2 pound beef suet, finely chopped* 3 quarts apple cider 2 cups beef broth 3 pounds apples, chopped 3 pounds raisins (dark and golden) 2 pounds currants 1/2 pound citron 1 tablespoon ground cloves 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg 1 tablespoon ground allspice 1 firmly-packed cup brown sugar 2 cups rum or Applejack brandy
* Suet is a solid while animal fat. The best Suet comes from the fat that grows around the kidneys in cows and sheep. You can purchase packages of suet from your local butcher or from the meat department of your local grocery store. It then needs to be coarsely grated to make it ready to use. It also must be kept refrigerated prior to use and used within a few days of purchase, just like meat. You can also substite lard, shortening, butter, or bacon fat.
Trim fat from meat of your choice.
In a large heavy pan over medium heat, place meat; cover with water. Add cider vinegar, whole cloves, allspice, and bay leaf. Simmer approximately 2 hours or until the meat is tender and falls apart. Remove from heat and refrigerate meat in cooking liquid overnight.
Remove from refrigerator and remove meat from liquid. Remove all fat from top of liquid; discarding the liquid. Separate meat from bones, discard bones. Chop cooked meat into small cubes.
In a large pot, combine meat cubes, suet, apple cider, beef broth, apples, raisins, currants, citron, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and brown sugar. Over medium heat, let mixture come just to a low boil; reduce heat to low and let simmer until the apples are cooked. Remove from heat and add rum or Applejack brandy and mix together.
Variation: For a wonderful flavor boost, zest and juice 2 to 3 lemons and 2 orange. Add to mince before bringing to a boil.
It’s best to let mincemeat stand at least a couple of weeks before using. I store mine in the refrigerator. Freeze in air-tight containers for longer storage.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare pie pastry.
In a large bowl, lightly toss the sliced apples with a little flour and cinnamon. Spread the apple mixture over the bottom of the pastry-lined plate. Dot with butter. Spoon prepared mincemeat over the top. Add additional rum or brandy to your taste. Cover with remaining pastry and flute. Cut slits in pastry so steam can escape. Cover edge with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning.
NOTE: I think my great grandma added the apples to stretch the mincemeat supply. Non-mince lovers absolutely love this pie. The only downfall of making this pie so delectable that the pie doesn't last as long!
Bake pie approximately 40 to 50 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Remove aluminum foil during last 15 minutes of baking. Remove from oven and cool on awire rack before cutting and serving.