What is scrapple? Well, let me tell you if you are not so lucky to have grown up eating it.
Scrapple is made with pork, usually scraps, although I remember a TV show with Julia Child making it using a loin of pork. However, unless Julia is coming to your house to cook, the scrapple you buy will be made with pork scraps finely minced, pork broth, cornmeal and spices like sage, thyme, and black pepper. The resulting mush is put in a loaf pan to become solid, then sliced, dusted with flour and pan fried. For some reason, if you order it in a diner, another NJ specialty, they usually deep fry it, making it extra crispy on the outside. Something I am not sure I approve of. There are one or two commercial brands that you can buy in the local supermarkets, but for the best products, if you can, search out an Amish butcher to make your purchase. Because when it comes to scrapple, the Amish reign supreme.
According to the all knowing Wikipedia...
"Scrapple is best known as a regional American food of the Mid-Atlantic States (Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland). Scrapple and Pon haus are commonly considered an ethnic food of the Mennonite and Amish, or Pennsylvania Dutch...Scrapple is arguably the first pork food invented in America. The culinary ancestor of scrapple was the Low German dish called panhas, which was adapted to make use of locally available ingredients, and it is still called "panhoss" or "pannhas" in parts of Pennsylvania. The first recipes were created more than two hundred years ago by Dutch colonists who settled near Philadelphia and Chester County, Pennsylvania in the 17th and 18th centuries. As a result, scrapple is strongly associated with Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C. and surrounding eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and the Delmarva Peninsula....another product I am very fond of. Have I ever mentioned the wonderful product that is Irish Black and White puddings? Well, we will save that for another day.
In composition, preparation, and taste, scrapple is similar to the white pudding popular in Ireland..."
Scrapple is often eaten as a breakfast meat, with eggs and toast or pancakes. But my favorite way to eat it is as a sandwich, on a toasted Thomas' English Muffin (no other brand will do!) with a little ketchup. I have been eating that as long as I can remember, from the time I was just a wee Caite. My maternal grandfather died when I was about 7, but before he died the proper way to prepare scrapple was one of the important life lessons he taught me. Slice it not too thick, not too thin. Dust in a bit of flour and pan fry over low heat so you get a solid, crispy exterior while the center still remains soft. Don't fool with it, don't rush it. Get that English muffin in the toaster, the ketchup standing by. Best consumed with a cold glass of milk. Yum...
For the brave, I found a recipe online that sounds reasonable, with a minor amount of odd bits.
* 2 pounds ground lean pork
* 1 pound beef liver
* 1 cup buckwheat flour
* 3 cups yellow corn meal
* 4 tablespoons salt
* 4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
* 2 teaspoons sage
* 2 teaspoons ground mace
* 2 teaspoons ground coriander
* 2 teaspoons ground thyme
* 2 teaspoons whole sweet marjoram
* 3 quarts of water
In a large pot bring the water to a boil. Add beef liver and boil 10 minutes. Remove the liver and either run through a chopper or grab a knife and cut it in as small pieces as you can. Return chopped liver to the pot. Add the ground pork, a little at a time, and stir. Simmer for 20 minutes.
In a large bowl mix the buckwheat flour, corn meal, salt, and spices; add to meat and broth slowly, stirring constantly. Simmer gently for one hour, stirring frequently. Use lowest possible heat, as mixture scorches easily.
Pour into two greased loaf pans. Bounce the pans a couple of times so that the Scrapple settles, and let cool. Let the Scrapple set in the refrigerator overnight.
When you arise in the morning, remove the scrapple from the refrigerator and cut into to 3/8 inch slices.
To serve: Thaw slices and dust with flour. Fry in either bacon grease or lard until golden brown. Do not use a cooking spray. It will not taste right and ruin the scrapple.
This has been my weekly contribution to Weekend Cooking, so be sure to check out the other entries hosted by Beth Fish Reads.