Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mincemeat and perogies, two great tastes that...

...don't go together, but for efficiency, I am combining them in this blog!

The other day I made mincemeat, followed by perogies for dinner. I am not of any ethnic extraction likely to be brought up on perogies (although I did have a lovely Polish uncle who was a super guy), but my English Mum liked them and fed them to me (albeit store-bought) when I was growing up. Now I occasionally make my own, from an old Canadian Living recipe.

The ones I made this week were rushed and probably the ugliest perogies on the planet, but my, they were tasty!

And, ahem, I had some blue (purple) potatoes from my garden on hand, so I figured "What the heck!" I know, I know, the results are a bit freakish. The filling was 'taters, onions, and cheddar cheese. YUM! Here it is, ready to go onto the dough rounds.

And here are the ugliest perogies ever, hastily pinched together with absolutely no artistry:

Into the pan with the fried onions and a healthy glob of butter:

And from there, onto plates next to globs of sour cream, then into our stomachs no doubt clogging our arteries on the journey. Bye bye!

And from earlier that day, we have the mincemeat saga. I suspect people feel about mincemeat much the way they do about fruitcake (i.e. strongly.) I am firmly in the mincemeat camp, although generally I ate meatless/suetless mincemeat, and store-bought at that. My Mum and I made and bottled mincemeat when I was 12, and that was the last time I'd made it. This week, I made my own first the first time in over 30 years.

I was slightly dubious about the recipe, because it included cranberries. No way does traditional English mincemeat include cranberries!! But I threw caution to the wind and made it anyway, since it's a Bernardin recipe and I find them to be quite reliable. And I figured that the ample quantities of brandy and sherry involved would more than compensate for the cranberries.

Here is is in the pot, before cooking:

Three types of raisins, currants, apples, cranberries, ground-up oranges and lemons, mixed peel, brown sugar, booze, spices... yummy!!

And the liquor, standing at attention:

(For someone who doesn't drink a lot,there's a LOT of alcohol on my blog this week!)

Here is the mincemeat post-cooking. It's not quite as red as it looks in the photo:

The jars are filled and put in the canner to boil for 30 minutes. This is my mother's canner and I believe it's the same one we used for mincemeat in 1976!

And here's the finished product. Mincemeat is better if you let it age for awhile, but I intend to crack open a bottle or two before Christmas anyway!

For the truly twisted amongst you, here's a recipe for mincemeat fruitcake (shudder!)

My kitchen helper Tristan wondering, as always, when he's going to get his free sample!

We are buckling down for a snowstorm that is going to start later tonight. Happy holidays!


  1. Anonymous10:34 am

    OK the perogies thingys look Really Good. (despite the purple spuds ;)). ...and all that butter and sour cream helps!! ...ok here's something that will make you feel good. I read a report quite a while ago about a study done somewhere around the beginning of the 20th C that looked at heart attack rates among Irish immigrant men and Irish men in ireland ... working class in both cases. What motivated the study was the perplexing evidence that the immigrants were having more heart attacks than their counterparts back in the old country. The researchers noted that the diets were virtually the same between the two groups. What had changed though was the level of activity. The ones that stayed in Ireland were engaging in much more physical labor than those in the new country. Thus, one of the conclusions of the study was that the overall effects of butter and cream on heart attacks were associated with the level of physical activity of the individual. The higher the level of activity, the lower the negative effects of dairy fats.

    Of course, in interpreting the results, one has to set aside the fact that the study was funded by the American Dairy Counsel .... hahahha ...just kidding. I actually don't know who funded it. I'm not even sure it was a real study since I was reading it in a secondary source.

    However, it does give one permission to eat BUTTER and CREAM depending on how you interpret it.

    Also here's another thing. I was talking to my friend Fatima who had recently returned from a trip to Chiapas, a southern Mx state and very much populated by indigenous peoples. She went on a very interesting tour led by a sociologist. One of the things he said was that the kids could not drink milk because it was just not something that was part of their evolutionary development. I mean milk and milk products are fairly new introductions to their diets.

    Sooooo, we all being of western eurpoean extraction have been consuming dairy products for EONS so we have developed a way to process them....which is to say Eat BUTTER and CREAM! ...but, work hard at manual labor (however, you wish to interpret that).

    hahhaha... See the beauty of rationalization.

    ok CLEARLY I have nothing to do this morning...or actually I'm avoiding taking the dogs on their walks because it's 3°C this morning...IEEEEEEE. I kid you not...however the sun is warm. OK I'm just using the cold as an excuse. I'd rather just sit here and play around and drink coffee than do anything.

    OK I will now go downstairs and get another cup of coffee. exciting!

    ...after I correctly enter the word verification :/

  2. NK,you just won the award for the longest comment EVER left on my blog! HAHAHAHA!

    Well, I have Irish and English blood from the old country BUT I'm pretty physical active (chopping kindling every morning for starters!) so that should totally erase the effects of the eggs Benedict and home fries I just had out at our favourite local greasy spoon!

    I hate margarine and refuse to drink skim milk and never buy no-fat dairy products... my heart is doomed. ;) Well, unless I get out there and do some more wood-chopping!

    And 3C is bloody cold for Mexico!!!

  3. And NK, Gordon wants to know if you have gotten rid of all your sweaters, and also he hopes that you are not drinking godforsaken Nescafe, but rather REAL coffee!

  4. Anonymous2:12 pm

    I WIN?! Are you going to send me a pound of BUTTER?! ;) hahhaha

    Actually when I finished and went back to your entry, I realized that I hadn't said anything about the mincemeat, which looks WONDERFUL and sooooooo cool that that is most likely the same canning thing you used with your mother 30 years ago. that is just unspeakably cool!

    But what do you do with mincemeat? (and why does it have such a hideous name??) haha. I guess there are versions that have actual MEAT products in it. Personally I like yours better.

    And, yes, you are officially exempt from any bad coronary effects from your breakfast this morning. ..and I would give my left nut (if I had one....I would say "my left ovary" but somehow it doesn't have the same impact and also I don't want to tempt fate)...anyway, to have EGGS BENEDICT....OOOOOoooooooo. That is one meal that is just unheard of here. Maybe they have them in more resort like places but not here.

    and yes 3C is COLD .. now it's up to 17C which is very nice.

    And for Mr. C, I do have sweaters and there are many occasions to use them! ...and I do have my recently purchased in Lancaster HARRIS TWEED (authentic and numbered) jacket (used of course: £35.) which I also can use! God I love that thing.

    AND the only occasion I use instant coffee is for "leche para nescafe" only I don't use nescafe. Now I have a jar of "Legal". funny opposed to illegal, I suppose. So anyway the difference is that instead of water you use milk and about two teaspoons of sugar. It's really good for those days when you can't seem to stop eating (I don't suppose G has too many of those). But it just satisfies that urge to graze. It's also very nice when it's cold out. ..comfort food kinda thing.

    So for regular coffee, I'm currently using my drip coffee maker. I end up microwaving the last two cups the next day. Waste not, want not! haha.

    ok ..this is ever so interesting...not.

    :) ...Oh and Tristan is as adorable as ever.

    (dog I swear I have to enter the word verification thing at least twice.)

  5. It's really nice to see your pirogies get consumed with sour cream and fried onions. Which just leaves the question "where are the crumbled bits of bacon?"

    P.S. Mincemeat good; fruitcake good; all food good except over-cooked Brussels sprouts that have started to go grey and are mushy and have that really horrible sulfurous smell...

  6. Bacon! CRAP! I knew I forgot something!!!

  7. Anonymous9:25 pm

    Everything looks so yummy. I never like mincemeat but your recipe ... I just might try.


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!