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SISTER MARY’S KITCHEN

[Welland Tribune November 18, 1931]

No holiday menu is complete without at least a narrow wedge of mince pie. And for meals during the entire holiday season mince pie makes an acceptable dessert. Mince meat is used to make delicious puddings.

Since mince meat improves if allowed to stand a few weeks after making and before using in pies, the foresighted housewife makes her mince meat in November to give it time to ripen. The flavors blend as in any spiced concoction and the result is an enticing mixture without any predominating flavor.

“Proper” mince meat is made with boiled cider and there are several brands of commercially prepared boiled cider on the market. However, sweet spiced vinegar from sweet pickles or a mixture of grape juice, orange juice and lemon juice can be substituted with good results. Sweet cider can be boiled with the other ingredients if it is at hand.

The modern mince meat is quite different from the concoctions of our grandmothers. Fifty years ago mince meat lived up to its name and actually was thick with meat. The old recipes or “receipts” call for a few raisins and spices to give flavor but the main ingredients were meat, suet, apples and boiled cider. Today some cooks make mince entirely without meat, using nuts, candied fruits, currants, raisins, reserves and fruit juices carefully seasoned with sugar and spices.

The following rule is a combination of the modern and old-fashioned mixture.

Mince Meat:

Two pounds lean beef,
¾ pound beef suet,
4 pounds apples,
2 pounds seeded raisins,
1 pound cleaned currants,
1 pound shredded citron,
¼ pound candied orange peel,
¼ pound candied lemon peel,
2 pounds light  brown sugar,
2 quarts sweet cider or the equivalent in fruit juices,
1 cup molasses,
1 cup meat stock,
2 tablespoons salt,
1 nutmeg grated,
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon,
1 teaspoon ground allspice,
1 cup preserved cherries or strawberries.

Any part of the beef can be used that is lean. Some people prefer the tongue to any other part. It must be boiled until very tender and carefully trimmed before chopping. Cook meat in  boiling water until tender, adding 1 ½ teaspoon salt when half done. Add water as necessary and remove scum as it rises.

When meat is tender boil rapidly to reduce stock to one cup. Let cool in stock. When cool  remove from stock and carefully trim away bits of fat, bone or gristle. Put meat through food chopper and strain stock. Mince suet, Pare core and chop apples and chop raisins. Put all ingredients except preserves into preserving kettle. Bring to the boiling point and cook over a low fire for about  two hours, stirring to prevent sticking, add preserves.

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