Tis the season

Posted By on December 4, 2013

For mincemeat! Not the anemic, sickly-sweet corn syrup sludge oozing out of commercial pies, but the real stuff with actual beef and booze. I used to make up a batch every year, but have missed it lately. Maybe this season I’ll get back into it. This is the recipe I use. It comes from my favorite Age of Fighting Sail secondary source cookbook, Lobscouse and Spotted Dog. Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin eat mince pies as part of their Christmas celebrations referenced in The Fortune of War, set during the War of 1812.

Makes about 3 quarts

3lb shin of beef
1 lb suet, finely grated
1 ¾ cups dried currants
¾ cups raisins
½ cup candied orange peel, coarsely chopped
½ cup candied citron, coarsely chopped
1 pound tart apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped (~3 cups)
Juice and coarsely chopped zest of one lemon
Juice and coarsely chopped zest of one Seville orange
2 TB grated ginger
2 cups sugar
1 tsp mace
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 TB ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
½ cup cider
½ cup brandy
½ cup red wine

Put the beef in a pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered two hours or until the meat is tender enough to fall off the bone. (I used a crockpot for this.) Drain the meat and pick out any bones, fat, and gristle. It’ll make about one pound of shredded meat bits. Chop the meat and mix with all the other ingredients. Put the mincemeat in a sealed container and set it aside to ripen somewhere in a cool, dark place. It’ll be ready to use in about 2 weeks, but only improves with age.

About the author

I'm a museum professional with an MA in Museum Studies and Atlantic History. A lot of my research has been in colonial and maritime history, as well as material culture of the 16th - 19th centuries. I've held a lot of weird jobs covering everything from beekeeper to tall ship deckhand. I currently live with my partner on the Canadian border in Vermont.


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