Meaty Mincemeat – the gloves are off

Right. I’ve had enough of this namby-pamby mincemeat with nothing but dried fruit and sugar!  Let’s put some meat in the recipe!  No, really, let’s put some meat in the recipe.  Originally mincemeat was just that – a well spiced condiment containing, amongst other things, minced meat.

It started off as a savoury dish in the 15th century but as sugar became more widely available, it gradually crept sweetly towards the end of the meal.  It was also a good way of preserving meat and although mine has never stayed around long enough to find out, it can certainly be left for a month in a sealed jar and probably longer.  You can use lamb or beef – I prefer lamb because it’s lighter – but whichever you choose make sure it’s good quality meat with no sinewy bits and nice and lean.

You mustn’t be afraid of this recipe; many people find mincemeat somewhat too sweet anyway, and whilst this version is pleasantly sweet, it leans towards the spice rather than the sugar.  Also, it is virtually impossible to detect the meat so there is no need to be squeamish.  A few years ago I took a warm plate of these mince pies into the playground at school and handed them round.  They were received with great gladness and only a few stupid people wrinkled their noses when they found out what was in them.  Why do people do that?  If I’d fed them minced kittens I could understand it… blah blah blah…

1 x large mixing bowl
1 x vegetable peeler
1 x grater

1lb / 480g minced lamb – broken up finely
1lb / 480g dark brown sugar
8oz / 240g apples – peeled cored and chopped
8oz / 240g raisins
8oz / 240g stoned dates – finely chopped
2oz / 60g suet
1 small orange – juice and grated rind
1 lemon – juice and grated rind
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 good slosh of brandy (apple brandy is really nice in this too)

Mix it all up together in a bowl
Spoon into sterilized jars and leave for at least a week or preferably two before using.

You can sterilise jam jars in the microwave. Quarter fill the jam jar with cold water, put the lid on, shake the water around the jar, then remove lid and empty almost all of the water out. Microwave  for 1 minute. Everywhere the water has touched will be brought to boiling point and sterilised. Pour out the water, take care as the jar will be hot, and use for jams etc



Filed under Christmas, Food, History, Recipes, Seasonal

13 responses to “Meaty Mincemeat – the gloves are off

  1. Sue

    Do you know I’ve never made a meaty mincemeat. I know all about it of course. I happen to have a lb of minced lamb in the freezer and I have Calvados. By Jove I’ll give it a go! I have no squeam at all.

  2. I spent 8 hours last week steaming suet laden christmas pud…thats my contribution done this year.

  3. Erm…I can see I am going to be the odd man out. I have never liked mince pies, but Thud ate enough for the both of us in Christmas’s past.

  4. Affer

    So, would it actually be nicer if it DID have minced kitten in?

  5. wartimehousewife

    Thud: Well done you – I hope it’s a tasty one
    Vinogirl: Lots of people don’t like mince pies but if you get a chance, make a small quantity of the meaty ones and see if you like them, you’ll be amazed how different they are.

  6. Joy

    This sounds good. Meat pies are *always* a favorite around here. In fact, I can entice my chicken-hating son into eating chicken as long as it is in a pie crust. 🙂 I’d have to use beef though as lamb is cost prohibitive in Virginia and I’ll have to hunt for suet. BTW, what is mixed spice?

    Love your recipes, WH, and am praying for warmth to come your way. My brother, who lives in Geneva, has been sending me photos of the snow. We had copious amounts last winter and it was cold. Good warming meat pies should help. We ate lots of stew and soup, too.


    • wartimehousewife

      Thank you Joy. Do you know, I get a real kick out of knowing that there are people such a long way away reading my blog – isn’t technology wonderful.
      Mixed spice is a ground mixture of sweet spices, usually nutmeg, cinnamon, Allspice and ginger. It also sometimes has clove in as well. It is a lovely ready-made mixture which goes well with winter puddings, custards and heavy fruit mixtures. It is sometimes called ‘pudding spice’ and I believe you have something in America called ‘pumpkin pie spice’. But if you blended equal quantities of the above, you’ll be as right as ninepence.

      • Joy

        I love the fact that I can read blogs from all over the world, but especially England. I have been an English history/culture lover since I was a child, have read widely, and have had the awesome privilege of visiting twice, and so the opportunity to read blogs from my favorite “foreign” country is one I cannot resist. Your blog is one of the treats I give myself each morning as I’m waking up for the day. I love the combination of humor, advice, and good cooking. 🙂

        Fantastic. I have some pumpkin pie spice left over from Thanksgiving and I’ve been wanting to use it up. As I personally do not care for pumpkin pie (I make one every year for my children and two for our church’s Thanksgiving dinner ministry) I’m always looking for ways to use up the leftover spice. Hurrah! I must try these. Thanks for the recipe.

  7. Lady B

    I have to ask you a (practically) unrelated question. Well, it is a Christmassy question so I don’t feel too bad about it! Do you, or your marvellous followers, know of a substitute for pork sausemeat for my stuffing? I have several people coming for Christmas and as one of them is Jewish, I wanted to try to find a substitute to give substance to my stuffing in a way that she can eat it.

    • wartimehousewife

      I do indeed Lady B. One for Chestnut Stuffing and one for Sage, Onion and Pickled Walnut Stuffing. Do you need it immediately? otherwise I’ll put them on on Monday or Tuesday.

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