Homemade winter mincemeat from historic recipes; bear, venison, and pigs feet

There was a wonderful madness in my kitchen as eight friends and family joined me this last Sunday to make mincemeat from historic recipes.  Both the bear and the venison were contributed by the Great Hunter (Jackson Landers) for which we offer our deepest appreciation.  I swear we used every bowl I own , the three mortar & pestles for pounding whole spices were kept working, and just measuring all the sugar, chopped apples, apple cider and least I forget the many cups of brandy took close attention.    The three pots  of mincemeat had to be stirred often to keep them from sticking.

We made a batch of bear mincemeat using The Kentucky Housewife 1836 recipe,

chopped bear meat

one of venison using the 1955 recipe from a farm manual on butchering,

venison recipe

and the Mary Randolph recipe for mincemeat from pigs feet from The Virginia House-wife 1826.

Mary Randolph's pigfoot mincemeat

Most of us came from the “I hate mincemeat’ school but were converted by the lovely results when we filled and baked tiny mincemeat tarts made in crusts of pastry made of home rendered lard from our home grown pigs.

venison and bear mincemeat tarts

To keep the cooks sustained I served a smoked fresh ham

smoked ham off the grill

with tortillas, fresh bread, pickles, and sandwich fixings, jicama sticks, fried plantain, and wine.  As an added treat Jenny made Pelmini (a bear, cabbage, onion) dumpling served with sour cream and chopped fresh dill!  A-mazingly fabulous!

Pelmini dumplings