Suet is key in making mincemeat


January 05, 2000|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,Sun Staff

Old-fashioned mincemeat pie was the request of E. Tallant from Fayetteville, N.C. "My husband hasn't had one since he was a teen-ager and his grandmother made the pies," she wrote.

Sandi Atkinson of Derwood sent in a recipe from "The 50 States Cookbook" (Consolidated Book Publishers, 1977) by the Culinary Arts Institute. "From Maine, in the New England section, on page 20, appears this recipe for mincemeat," she said.


Makes enough for 2 pies

1/2 cup (about 4 ounces) ground suet

1 1/2 cups ground cooked beef

4 medium apples

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup apple cider

1/2 cup fruit jelly

1/2 cup seedless raisins, chopped

1/2 cup currants

2 tablespoons molasses

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground mace

1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix suet and beef in a large, heavy skillet and set aside. Wash, core, peel and finely chop apples (about 3 cups chopped). Combine apples with meat in skillet with the brown sugar, cider, jelly, raisins, currants and molasses. Stir in salt and spices. Cook slowly, uncovered, about 1 hour, or until most of liquid has been absorbed; stir occasionally to prevent sticking to bottom of skillet. Stir in lemon peel and juice. If not used immediately for pie, pack hot mincemeat into sterilized jars, cover and refrigerate.

Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "Suet is the crucial, and often dreaded, ingredient in mincemeat pie. You need to ask for it specially at the butcher. It is the solid white fat around the kidneys of beef and sheep, lending an unmistakable muskiness to mincemeat pie. This is a very traditional recipe, including ground beef for texture and heft. Most contemporary mincemeats eschew this ingredient, leaning more heavily on chopped nuts and fruit. I used this mincemeat right away in a simple pie, but the flavors might marry better after a bit of aging. Be sure to use extra-lean ground beef. The heady smells of all the spices wonderfully perfume the kitchen during baking."

Recipe requests

* A. B. Cowing of Severna Park writes, "For many years, I enjoyed a White Bean Salad my mom made on occasion. Both my sister and I have lost the recipe. I remember it has a lot of garlic in it, some carrot, onion and parsley. The dressing was oil-based, and I think Mom said it was Scandinavian."

* W. B. Brandstetter of Auburn, N.Y., is seeking a brioche recipe. "I know it contains a lot of eggs, but it is delicious."

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a hard-to-find recipe, write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278. If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letters may be edited for clarity.

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