RE: Mincemeat Help
meowzart, earlier this year, my wife bought me a book of old James Beard columns. One of them described his way of making mincemeat, and I vowed to try it, although I haven't yet.
I searched the Internet for this recipe, but all I found was one called "James Beard Mincemeat" that was from an old Gourmet magazine. (All the websites I found had this same one.) It's somewhat different, so here's the one in James Beard's own words. You could adapt your grandmother's ingredients to the basic method he suggests. Hope this helps.
"This Mincemeat recipe has been in my family for ever and a day, and I consider it is just about the best I’ve ever tasted. First, take 3 pounds brisket or lean rump of bee and 1 fresh beef tongue weighing about 3 pounds. Boil them in water until they are very tender, cool them in the broth, and skim off the fat. Remove all fat from the meat, and either grind coarsely or chop very finely by hand.
Chop 1 ½ pounds beef suet very, very finely, and prepare 2 pounds seeded raisins, 2 pounds sultana raisins, 2 pounds currants, ½ pound citron, shredded and diced, ¼ pound orange peel, shredded, ¼ pound lemon peel, shredded, and ½ to 1 pound dried figs and dates, cut into small pieces.
Put the meats, suet, fruits, and peels in a deep crock. Add 2 cups sugar, 1 pint strawberry or raspberry preserves, 1 tablespoon salt, 2 teaspoons nutmeg or 2 ½ teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon allspice, 1 teaspoon mace, and a dash of ground cloves.
Add a fifth of good sherry and enough cognac to make a rather loose mixture of the meats and fruits – it will take 2 bottles. If you don’t want to use cognac, you can substitute Irish or bourbon whiskey or even gin or vodka. Mix very well, cover the crock, and let it stand for a month before you use it. Check it each week and add more liquor if it has all been absorbed. Then put it in sterilized jars and seal. This makes a most wonderful Christmas gift for any of your friends who love good mincemeat.
Mincemeat will keep for a long, long time, provided you give it plenty to drink. If you keep adding a bit more booze to it every year, it will keep in the refrigerator for as long as five years – I know, because I’ve done it."
-from "Beard on Food", copyright 1974.