To Make Mincd Pies

This recipe was distributed by the staff at Jamestown Settlement, VA during Foods and Feasts, 1999. This is a major event at Jamestown, occurring on Thanksgiving weekend. Among other goodies, they butcher two entire pigs as a food-processing demo. Needless to say, the volunteers get fed "high off the hog". This recipe does take some tweaking and experimentation. For starters, cutting it in half helps if you have limited freezer space.

Note: One ounce of spice is equivalent to 4 level tablespoons when ground. Muscadine is muscatel. Sack is sherry. 1/2 pound of sugar is 1 cup.

Take to 4 pound of ye Flesh of a legg of veale, or neats tongues, 4 pound of beefe suet, 2 pound of raysons stoned & shread, 3 pound of currans, halfe a pound or more of sugar, 3 quarters of an ounce of cloves, mace, nutmegg, & cinnamon, beaton, halfe a dozen apples shread, some rosewater, a quarter of a pinte of mukadine or sack, some candied orringe, leamon & citron pill minced. Shread yr meat & suet very fine, & mingle all together. For plaine minced pies, leave out ye fruit and put in blanckd almonds minced small.

Adjustments: I've substituted ground chuck for the leg of veal / calf tongue This works. I cut back on the fat content a bit too enthusiastically though - keep at least a 3:1, possibly a 2:1 meat/fat ratio or it gets dry. Likewise, if you can't find currants, fill out with raisins. If you can only find rose syrup instead of rosewater, back off on the sugar a bit. Increase the sherry, and possibly use it to soak the raisins for a few hours. Running the stuff to be "shread" through an oldstyle hand-cranked meat grinder worked well for me.

A pint and a half of the mix works well in a 9-inch pie. Use either a well-perforated top crust, or a lattice of strips. Preheat the oven to 450, then drop the heat to 325 when you put in the pie. The time on this seems to be variable - I've just gone to checking with a meat thermometer until it hits somewhere around "beef - medium". The ladies at Jamestown produce these goodies in a cast-iron Dutch oven, of course.