In publication since 1991, Wrangler News is distributed free every other Saturday to more than 18,000 homes in the Kyrene Corridor area of South Tempe and West Chandler, and is supported by local and regional advertisers.

  Search past and present issues of the Wrangler
    Site search Web search                       
   powered by
Contact Us Links Media Kit Make a Payment Previous Issues

Back Home Forward

A pie for the season: mincemeat revisited

By: Elan Head

Dec. 16, 2006

I’m not an inveterate procrastinator, but I do occasionally put things off — the last of my Christmas shopping, for example, which I fully intend to get to this weekend.

Usually some deadline (Christmas) eventually forces me to take action. But there are things I keep at the back of my mind that — when I finally get around to reckoning with them — I’m shocked to find I’ve put off for years.

Exhibit A: mincemeat pie. I first shared a recipe for mincemeat pie (with meat!) in this column three years ago. That’s hard for me to believe, because I haven’t made it since.

Not that I haven’t been meaning to. I was pleasantly surprised by my first run at this archaic classic: beef brisket simmered with spices; melded with sautéed apples, raisins and brandy; and baked in a flaky crust.

My husband still requests it (a “mincemeat-shaped hole in his life,” is how I phrased his craving the first time around).

Yet for one reason or another, we’ve gone 36 months mincemeat-free.

It’s time to bring mincemeat back. And in case you, too, have postponed this particular culinary adventure, I’m reproducing the recipe below.

In homage to James Beard’s recipe “Our Fabulously Good Mincemeat,” mine is titled “My Surprisingly Good Mincemeat.”

Here’s what to do:

Simmer 3 pounds beef brisket in water to cover with a few cloves, a slice of fresh ginger, a 2-inch cinnamon stick, a star anise and three or four peppercorns.

When the brisket is tender, remove it from the broth, then cut away all fat from the meat. Chop it finely by hand. Reserve 1 quart of the broth, strained.

Meanwhile, soak 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup golden raisins in 1/3 cup good brandy.

Peel, core and dice three apples. Sauté in 2 tablespoons butter until soft. Add the chopped meat, the raisins, and about 1 cup of the reserved broth; bring to a simmer.

Add 1/4 cup sugar; 1/4 cup brown sugar; 2 or 3 tablespoons of strawberry preserves; the finely chopped zest and juice of one orange; the finely chopped zest of one lemon and the juice of half of it; 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon; 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg; salt and freshly ground pepper to taste; and 1 tablespoon cognac or brandy.

Simmer for about an hour, adding more broth as necessary. The apples should be very soft and the flavors well-integrated. Adjust the seasonings to taste, adding more of anything — salt, pepper, cinnamon, sugar, lemon juice, cognac — as you see fit.

Stir 1 teaspoon of cornstarch into 1 tablespoon of the reserved broth, then stir this into the mincemeat, and cook until thickened.

When the mincemeat is done, stir in 1/2 cup toasted, chopped pecans.

To make a pie, spoon the mixture into a partially baked pie crust. Bake until the crust is golden and the filling very hot. Serve it warm or at room temperature with lots of freshly whipped cream.

Merry Christmas!


web site hit counter