About this blog...

Food has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. Food and the festivities surrounding its arrival to the table has always been a focal point in our family. For many years I have been amassing the cookbooks, recipe cards, cooking journals, diaries, manuscripts and clipping files of our once extensive family.

Personally, I’ve been professionally involved with food for over 40 years in numerous and varied culinary capacities across the country so I also have the collected stories, as well as current and on-going food-related experiences from my own life I’d like to share.

My idea has long been that someday I would bring all of this marvelous raw material together into a culinary journey through our family’s heritage. This journal is the beginnings of that journey.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Grandma's Mince Meat

I've not done much intentional hunting but it was a big tradition on my mother's side of the family, and not just for sport. Both my grandfather and Uncle were avid and talented hunters and trappers and it was an integral part of their life - key not only for contributing food to the dinner table but, perhaps even more importantly, as a method of controlling predators and nuisance animals on their Connecticut farm.  
Regardless of the reason for the kill and irrespective of the species, little of it went to waste.  I'm pretty sure that the woodchucks never saw the kitchen stove but just about everything else almost certainly did.  
Venison was a regular and welcomed feature on the table in many forms and my grandmother had dozens of excellent go-to recipes in her repertoire for when "the boys" brought home a deer. This is one of her favorites from which she made the best pies during the Christmas holidays.

Grandma's Mince Meat
4 Pounds   Bone-in Venison or Elk Leg or Shoulder
2 ½ Cp    Suet, Minced or Coarsely Grated
7 ½ Cp    Apples, Tart, Chopped
3 Cp      Reserved Meat Broth
5 Cp      Sugar
3 Cp      Apple Cider
1 Cp      Molasses
3 Cp      Raisins
½ Cp      Cider Vinegar
2 TBSP    Ground Cinnamon
1 TBSP    Ground Cloves
2 TBSP    Ground Allspice
2 TBSP    Ground Nutmeg
2 Each    Lemon's Juice
2 Each    Orange's Juice
1 Cp      Brandy
1. Trim any large deposits of fat from the meat
2. Cover the meat with water in a pot.  Bring to a boil, skim, then simmer until the meat is tender. 
3. Remove from heat and refrigerate meat in the broth overnight.
4. Remove the meat from the broth and skim off any fat from the surface. 
5. Remove and discard the bones from the meat.
6. Dice the cooked meat about 1/4"
7. Combine the meat cubes,with all of the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the brandy.  Bring to boil then simmer for 2 hours.
8. Remove meat mix from the heat and add the brandy.  Stir to fully mix together.
9. Can be refrigerated in a tightly sealed container for several weeks, canned into sterile jars (follow appropriate  low-acid canning procedures) or successfully frozen in well-sealed containers or zip bags for several months.

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