Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Taking the Scrap Out of Scrapple

I did this scrapple video recipe for my America food site on About.com, and decided to make a couple minor changes to the original recipes - like leave out the main ingredient.

Scrapple, a Pennsylvania Dutch breakfast staple from days gone bye, is basically a bunch of hog scraps (you don't want to know) bound together with a cornmeal mush. Once cooled, it's sliced, fried, and "enjoyed."

This more user-friendly variation uses polenta as the binding agent, and is studded with pieces of pork you can actually identify and would eat on purpose, like pork shoulder and ham. This is the perfect day-after-pork-roast breakfast.

Now that I've guaranteed a flood of email and comments from insulted Pennsylvania Dutchmen who swear by the heirloom recipes, I will say this slightly usual morning side dish is quite tasty with a couple eggs, and certainly fills you up for a long day of doing whatever they do all day in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Enjoy!

Click here for ingredients and recipe transcripts
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25 comments:

Pyrofish said...

OMG, my family loves scrapple. I never even thought about making it myself. We used to get such great scrapple in NJ, but in Florida, it's almost unheard of. We buy what they have down here, which is the frozen variety, and is ok but not great.

I know my dad would never go through this to make it, but I would make it and give it to him to cook. We're all about the original stuff. Fried up nice and crisp on the outside with some ketchup or hot sauce, a couple of eggs, hell yeah! Thanks Chef!

Chef John said...

Warning: this has much more of a delicate texture, much more like polenta than the firm scrapple you are probably thinking about. But do a test and see if you like it!

Pyrofish said...

If I wanted to grind the meat to get a more dense texture, would I grind before or after cooking?

My family has eaten it for an awful long time as is. It's only the flavor that's lacking in the fare found locally.

Chef John said...

before would be fine, but the big difference is it traditionally uses cornmeal and a bit less liquid which makes the loaf much firmer than the softer polenta version.

blogagog said...

Wait, you're using polenta instead of cornmeal? That's like using poultry instead of chicken, isn't it?

Chef John said...

Cornmeal is ground finer than polenta usually, so the same amount by volume will produce a thicker mush.

FoodRenegade said...

Looks great. I'm usually all in favor of leaving traditional recipes alone, as most "updates" tend to change the healthiness factors quite a bit.

THAT SAID, this looks like a very edible and more appetizing modernization of a classic breakfast recipe. And, the modernization doesn't detract from the original "umph" at all -- assuming that your polenta uses corn soaked with lime.

Thanks!
KristenM

Chef John said...

"polenta uses corn soaked with lime" ??

blogagog said...

That would be interesting, if true. 'Grits' are corn soaked in lime to remove the shell. Wouldn't it be humorous if grits and polenta are the same thing?

ps - We're trying your recipe tomorrow morning, but we had to use bacon instead of regular pork, and grits instead of polenta, since we didn't have those things. So far, it looks pretty gross :).

Chef John said...

yes, it basically looks gross all the way until it's fried which pretties everything up.

BTW, since you changed all the ingredients, don't blame me if it's no good!

Pyrofish said...

Alton Brown did a great show on the grits vs polenta topic. Look up Good Eats True Grit on Youtube. I know it's there.

scallywag said...

looks like a meaty granola bar yumm

danijel said...

What is the difference between cornmeal and polenta, because the all-knowing wikipedia seems to think:
"Polenta is a dish made from boiled cornmeal."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polenta

Chef John said...

Anything made from ground corn is technically "cornmeal" Polenta is a cornmeal, grits is a cornmeal, cornmeal is a cornmeal. But, what I was saying is supermarket cornmeal is ground much finer than a package of Italian polenta. As far as using them in certain recipes, like scrapple, or under pizza, they are not exactly the same thing.

blogagog said...

Ok, substituting bacon for pork backs and grits for polenta yielded a tasty treat! I'm going to try it out next week with the original ingredients.

Excellent recipe, chef.

Anonymous said...

I love your site! I wanted to let you know that you accidentally left the "r" out of scrapple in the title "Taking the Scrap out of Scrapple" (and twice more in the text further down). I've got my mother hooked on your site now, too! Keep up the great work!

Chef John said...

Thanks!

Yubi Shines said...

Heh. Considering most of my favorite foods look utterly hideous during the making (I'm looking at you, fried radish cake), this seems right up my alley. I've definitely got to try this out.

Lexi said...

Hey John, you sounded confused about the soaking of the corn in lime.

That's actually an ancient technique called Nixtamalization (pronounced neesh-tah-mall). Ancient Native Americans would first soak their harvested corn with wood ash (an alkaline). This made the corn softer, helped to remove the skins, and made it generally more digestable (and nutritious!).

I don't know if commercial corn is treated this way (with lime) or not.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John, I have never blogged, and I am not blogging about the scrapple but to complement you on your excellent and fun videos and really good site. I am super enjoying it. Many thanks for providing such super good recipes, I love to cook and will try them all. Signed, Nancy D.

Anonymous said...

how DARE YOU MAKE SCRAPPLE IN SUCH A HEALTHY AND NORMAL WAY!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??
xD been a pensylvanian all my life and all I can say is that and how on earth did you amek scrapple look so... edible?

Elijah said...

I made some more traditional pigs feet scrapple today. I have also seen scrapple with rolled oats instead of corn meal.
I honestly don't care what you use to make it as long as it's a crisp meaty treat. I recommend pouring some nice honey on it.

indianastan said...

I grew up eating scrapple and love it. It always seemed to make such a mess when frying, due to the splattering, that I started baking it instead. It's really very easy and produces a nice crisp crust. Just slice and place on a parchment lined tray.Spraying the parchment paper with a cooking spray makes the removal easier. Bake at 450 degrees for about 25 minutes.
I do believe that corn is soaked in lye, not lime to remove the outer shell.

ohgioia2@verizon,net said...

OH John, I'm shattered...
If it wasn't for Pa Dutch scrapple I would not be here. I was a depression baby (1928) and scrapple was a mainstay on the menu at our house. Along with shho-fly pie. Guess you hate that also.
Just ribbin ya dude, but be carefull what you say about Pa Dutch, we're big and MEAN LOL

Brenda said...

Chef, I come from South West England, and my Mum used to make a white pudding called Hog's Pudding. It was made with a pig's head, boiled and all the meat removed. Then groats were boiled in the same stock, (similar to porridge oats), then mix in the pork, with loads of salt and pepper. When it cooled, she cut it into slices and fried it with bacon and eggs. OMG. My mouth is watering.