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Author Notes: Either you’re a fan of mincemeat or you’re not. I am. I offer a large?batch recipe that yields 12 cups because it takes time and effort to make, so you may as well make a lot of it. You may not necessarily need that much, depending on the size batch of Mince Pies you make. If you don’t use it all, beribboned jars of mincemeat make great gifts throughout the holiday season. Or you can store any remaining jars in a cool, dark place for up to a year.

Note: The recipe classically calls for beef suet, the fat that is closest to the kidneys. I’ve found it difficult to get suet in small quantities, so we take a whole rib eye or sirloin and clean only the purest white fat off of the surface. We then grind and freeze it, so it can be sliced into pieces that look similar to suet when it’s ground.
Cathal Armstrong


Makes 12 cups

  • 1 pound pure white beef fat, cold
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 10 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 lemons zested
  • 2 cups sultanas (golden raisins)
  • 2 cups dried currants
  • 1 apple, such as bramley, ida or red
  • granny smith or pink lady, peeled, cored and coarsely grated
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons raisins
  • 3/4 cup brandy
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed candied citrus peel, cut into 1/2 inch squares
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 pound chopped almonds
  • 1 cup water
  1. Prep the fat: Pass the cold fat through a meat grinder fitted with a coarse grinder plate. (Do not use a food processor; it will break down the fat too much and the friction from the machine will liquefy the fat.) Place the fat in the freezer in a covered container until very firm, at least 2 hours.
  2. Make the mincemeat: Combine all the ingredients except the fat in a large bowl. Remove the fat from the freezer and chop it into pieces the size of raisins.
  3. Stir it into the fruit mixture. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and keep it in a cool, dark place for at least 6 weeks, stirring once a week. Use what you need and store the rest in jars in a cool dark place for up to a year. (The alcohol and sugar preserve it just fine.)
  4. Mixed spice is a combination of spices often found in Irish baking because it complements dried fruit so well. Dried fruit is another ingredient that figures prominently in Irish baking. No doubt cooks have personal preferences of combinations; this is mine: In a small bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of ground allspice, 1 tablespoon of freshly grated nutmeg, and 1 tablespoon of ground cloves. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Makes about 1/4 cup.
  5. Reprinted with permission from My Irish Table by Cathal Armstrong and David Hagedorn, copyright (c) 2014.Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Photography (c) 2014 by Scott Suchman Front cover photograph (c) 2014 by Sang An

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