In order to succeed in having good mince pie, it is quite essential to cook the meat properly, so as to retain its juices and strength of flavor.
Select four pounds of lean beef, the neck piece is as good as any,-wash it and put it into a kettle with just water enough to cover it; take off the scum as it reaches the boiling point, add hot water from time to time, until it is tender, then season with salt and pepper; take off the cover and let it boil until almost dry, or until the juice has boiled back into the meat. When it looks as though it was beginning to fry in its own juice, it is time to take up and set aside to get cold, which should be done the day before needed. Next day, when making the mince meat, the bones, gristle and stringy bits should be well picked out before chopping.
Chopping The Mincemeat.
The "Astor House," some years ago, was famous for its "mince pies." The chief pastry cook at that time, by request, published the recipe. I find that those who partake of it never fail to speak in laudable terms of the superior excellence of this recipe when strictly followed.
Four pounds of lean boiled beef chopped fine, twice as much of chopped green tart apples, one pound of chopped suet, three pounds of raisins, seeded, two pounds of currants picked over, washed and dried, half a pound of citron, cut up fine, one pound of brown sugar, one quart of cooking molasses, two quarts of sweet cider, one pint of boiled cider, one tablespoonful of salt, one tablespoonful of pepper, one tablespoonful of mace, one tablespoonful of allspice and four tablespoonfuls of cinnamon, two grated nutmegs, one tablespoonful of cloves; mix thoroughly and warm it on the range until heated through. Remove from the fire and when nearly cool, stir in a pint of good brandy and one pint of Madeira wine. Put into a crock, cover it tightly and set it in a cold place where it will not freeze, but keep perfectly cold. Will keep good all winter.
Chef de Cuisine, Astor House, N. Y. MINCE PIES. No. 2.
Two pounds of lean fresh beef, boiled and, when cold, chopped fine. One pound of beef suet, cleared of strings and minced to powder. Five pounds of apples, pared and chopped, two pounds of raisins, seeded and chopped, one pound of Sultana raisins, washed and picked over, two pounds of currants washed and carefully picked over, three-quarters of a pound of citron cut up fine, two tablespoonfuls cinnamon, one of powdered nutmeg, two of mace, one of cloves, one of allspice, one of fine salt, two and a quarter pounds of brown sugar, one quart brown sherry, one pint best brandy.
Mince-meat made by this recipe will keep all winter. Cover closely in a jar and Set in a cool place. Common Sense in the Household.
For preserving mince meat, look for Canned Mince Meat.
One cupful of cold water, half a cupful of molasses, half a cupful of brown sugar, half a cupful of cider vinegar, two-thirds of a cupful of melted butter, one cupful of raisins seeded and chopped, one egg beaten light, half a cupful of rolled cracker crumbs, a tablespoonful of cinnamon, a teaspoonful each of cloves, allspice, nutmeg, salt and black pepper.
Put the saucepan on the fire with the water and raisins; let them cook a few minutes, then add the sugar and molasses, then the vinegar, then the other ingredients; lastly, add a wine-glassful of brandy. Very fine.