Thursday, January 24, 2008

Try It You'll Like It: Scrapple

I have decided to start a new feature on this blog to focus attention on foods that you may have tried but didn't like or that you have been afraid to try. I am hoping that this feature will help shed light, and gain interest in some misunderstood or maligned foods. Whether it is you, your spouse or your children who are fussy eaters, I want to get you to stretch your culinary muscle, try something new, some of these foods will be old favorite of mine, while I hope to share some of my adventures in trying new things as well.

My first installment is about the much maligned scrapple. For those of you who may not be familiar with scrapple, it is a Pennsylvania Dutch/ German dish, mainly cooked for breakfast that is made from pork and cornmeal. The dish originated as a porridge made on butchering day, but evolved into a dish that was formed into a loaf, and now is sliced and fried. The Pennsylvana Dutch name for this dish is panhas (PON-hoss). It is still called that and sold under that name in German and Pennsylvania Dutch markets. However, because it was made with scraps of pork, it became known as scrapple, and that name stuck.


Many people who will not eat scrapple because it is made of pork bits and pieces and the dreaded offal (eat that, Ruhlman!), but scrapple is very similar in taste and texture to polenta, actually, it is a lot like polenta with little bits of meat (and some fat) mixed in. To prepare scrapple, slice and dredge in flour, and fry in oil or butter, turning to get a brown and crispy outside crust. While it is not exactly diet food (although Rapa says their scrapple is 88% fat free!), in my opinion, there is nothing like a piece of scrapple, with its crisp exterior and the soft and grainy interior. The traditional way to eat scrapple is with apple butter, but some (blasphemers) eat it with ketchup. Scrapple is a great alternative to other breakfast meats, the perfect counterpoint to a sunny-side egg.

As a big fan of scrapple (my Mom's family was of German descent and so scrapple was in their blood) I decided to try to make my own scrapple a couple of years ago. While it is not as complicated or technically demanding as making your own sausage or home cured bacon a la charcuterie, but it does take time and patience. A cut of pork with some fat (like shoulder) is best

Philadelphia - Style Scrapple

2 pounds pork shoulder (or pork butt) (I have used leftover pork butt for this)
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon sage
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper

Cut up pork into chunks. Place the pork, sage and cayenne in a stock pot and cover with water. Simmer for about 2 to 3 hours or until meat falls apart. Drain and reserve stock.
Remove meat from bone and chop all the meat with a knife. Measure 5 cups of stock and return to pot. Bring it to a simmer; add meat, cornmeal, salt and pepper, and stir constantly until thick and smooth, about 15 to 30 minutes. Stir in chopped meat to incorporate fully. Pour mixture into 2 loaf pans and refrigerate until completely chilled. Un-mold scrapple. To serve, slice, dredge and fry until golden brown and crisp on both sides.

Whether you make your own, or buy scrapple at your supermarket (brands like Rapa and Habbersett can be found in stores or online), give it a try. I think you'll like it!

23 comments:

ruthEbabes said...

Good idea blogging about foods people aren't sure about.

I've never heard of scrapple before! I'll maybe have to try this sometime.

katiez said...

Yours sounds delicious... but no offal...
I would expect the original is not to disimalar to haggis - different beast, different grain, same purpose!

Deborah Dowd said...

Ruthebabes- You should give it a try, it is actually very good!

Katiez- I only used meat, no snouts, etc, but you do need to use a less lean cut! I have talked to people from Scotland who didn't like haggis!

Ellen said...

Isn't it funny how now we have to buy things to make things that used to just be made from leftover bits? Pork anything is often a hit around here, except pork chops (go figure). I might try this. I usually buy a roast or shoulder and cut into portions.

Anne said...

I would never knock scrapple- I love the stuff! I don't know about the original hog's head version, though ew lol

Deborah Dowd said...

Ellen-The texture is much different when you make it (meatier) than what you buy, but really delicious.

Anne- I do have my limits- I have never eaten blood pudding or head cheese.

tooth whitening said...

I have never heard of scrapple before, but it sounds interesting. I recently got a bunch of pork very cheap, and now I am trying to find new ways to make it (we are getting tired of the usual stuff). I might have to give this one a try.

Glenna said...

Deborah--I like this feature! I'd heard of scrapple but had no idea what it was. Sounds like something I'd like too.

Deborah Dowd said...

Glenna-You really should try it- I'd live to hear from other bloggers who try something I have recommeded that they may not otherwise have tried. Don't forget the apple butter, it is part of the authetic scrapple experience.

Pat said...

I have a recipe for Trip soup presently on my blog --I think that is another food most people are afraid to try.
I love scrapple! My parents were both from Pennsylvania so I'm familiar with all the PA Dutch foods.

Bitsy said...

I've yet to make these. My hubby talks about this often. His dad was from PA. and oh the memories of his grandmothers scrapple!

Deborah Dowd said...

Pat- I think you meant tripe, and I have never tried it. Maybe I should!

Bitsy - You really should try it- I am sure it contains less "bits and pieces" than hot dogs! Or you could make your own (and wouldn't your husband be impressed!)

boinky said...

You're cheating.
Any good "dutch" from Pennsylvania knows you don't use good pork shoulders.

The original recipe starts with "Take two pigs heads"...

;-)

Anonymous said...

My family made this delicious dish when I was a young child, that was about 60 years ago, My family and I still make this, we consider it to be a treat to have this for breakfast with eggs. My family were german and we grew up very poor so we couldn't afford to buy pork shoulder or otherwise so the only time we ever had Pon Hoss was when we butchered a hog. Now we make it with the meat from pork neck bones. No fat is involved. It sure it worth the effort to make.
Judy Kay

Anonymous said...

I haven't had panhas since I left the farm! I didn't think I would ever get it again!! I am now going to try to find it online and can't wait. It has been about 30 years and I can still remember the yummy, crispy crust. Some of my family liked it less crunchy, but not me. Thanks for the memories!

Anonymous said...

I grew up in South Dakota and both my parents are of Dutch anncestary, Scrapple is somethings that I grew up eating on those special mornings waking up at Grandma's house...I rememember my brother and I eating serving after serving until there were no loafs left. Know my Grandma has passed and know one in the family has taken up the process of preparing it,,may be the fear that it will never come out like good ol Grandma's,,,,thanks for the info on the delicious dish and for those that haven't tried it...your missing out.

sand said...

When we make scrapple or pon hoss we use a combination of corn meal, flour and buck wheat flour.

Anonymous said...

my MIL made this.
I have her recipe which calls for no cayenne and uses "parts" of beef and pork. all I know is when asked what scrapple is, the common thing said about it is, "everything but the oink".
I've never developed a liking for the stuff myself, nor has our daughter, but my husband being raised on it loves the stuff as do both our sons.
great that you brought it to the forefront for the unknowing, good idea and thanks.

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Marla in TEXAS said...

my father's mother made it during the depression before she died when he was 5, my Grandfather was a migrant farm worker and they did not have alot, she used oatmeal and breakfast sausage, my father always made it for us growing and most of us 10 kids love it! my favorite way is to slice the cold loaf and dredging in flour and frying in a skillet, mass cooking for large group was "scrambled scrapple", I like it on bread with catsup!

1 cup oatmeal to 2 cups boiling water, cook but do not let it cook to "thick"

add 1 pound breakfast sausage (sage or regular or hot I never have tried it with maple and room temperture for easier mixing) mix to incorporate

slowly add 1/4 cup bisquick mixed with 1/2 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper

put in a loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap overnight.

Mary said...

This has been a tradition for my family since before 1900. Northerners dredge in flour while Southerners (of which we are) do not. The flour to us makes it pasty and takes away from the taste. Never heard of the applebutter being served on it either and this is the only place I have found it referenced. A childhood favorite that people should try at least once. Great served fried and eaten alone or with a fried egg on top!

ERJD said...

My mother used to make this when I was growing up in Ohio. She used two different cuts of pork. We never fried it cause it was just so good cold. Would make sandwiches. Better than any coldcut sandwich. It like pate.

Anonymous said...

Best served with pancake syrup