HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Scrapple!

If your response to the above title was "Yay!" instead of "Yuck!", you'll be glad to know that I've followed a notion I had about making this stuff to a very satisfactory conclusion. My flash was that scrapple is roughly a cross between cornmeal mush and headcheese, and so perhaps it could be made like that. An Armenian market I visit frequently has 1-lb. chub packs of headcheese from a Russian sausage company in North Hollywood, so I got some of that. The only seriously inauthentic feature of the result was due to the meat-packer's using the same seasonings they use in their mortadella and bologna; one of the Southern-style brands of headcheese or souse would be more downhome.

Here's the recipe:

1 lb pkg of headcheese
fresh sausage meat
water
1 cup cornmeal
Penzey's Bavarian seasoning, Aleppo pepper

Break up headcheese in a pan. Add about 1 cup water, cover and put on low heat until you have meat in simmering broth. Strain meat out, set aside to cool. Measure liquid and add enough water to make 2 1/2 cups. When meat is cool enough to handle, chop larger pieces into chunks no larger than about 1/4". Weigh meat, add enough sausage meat to make 12 oz.

Re-combine meats and liquid, season to taste with the spice/herb items. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and add the cornmeal slowly, stirring constantly. When it becomes a thick mush and the cornmeal is cooked, remove from heat. Line a 1 1/2 liter loaf pan with wax paper (or simply grease pan), spoon scrapple into this, levelling top. Cover and refrigerate overnight or until needed. Cut into slices and fry in hot fat; serve with honey, syrup or molasses, or as a starch/meat with eggs.

I notice that many posters to other scrapple threads say the traditional frying method is to flour it (or not) and lay it into a cold, dry pan, which you then heat up gradually until the scrapple is nice and crisp. I will try that, though this scrapple is much lower in fat than any commercial brand I've tried.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Sounds like some good stuff.

    What type/brand of cornmeal did you use?

    7 Replies
    1. re: FoodFuser

      Albers was the brand I used, since that's the easiest to find here. I think I'd like to find a coarser grind, since Albers is so fine it cooked to mush immediately, and there's not much corn-y flavor to it. Maybe a medium-grind polenta will be easier to locate (and cheaper!) than the stone-ground meal I'd look for in Tennessee.

      This morning's breakfast was the first time Mrs. O had tasted scrapple - or even really known exactly what it was - and she enjoyed it a lot. I cooked today's slices on a lightly greased iron griddle.

      1. re: Will Owen

        Glad to hear that Mrs. O liked it so easily. It's just that simple, and it's just that good. Too many people are offput by the concept of offal without ever trying it. Also pertinent is your report that scrapple is not a high fat food, when compared to prepared meats like hot dogs and cold cuts.

        As to the cornmeal grind... wouldn't it be nice if they labeled it according to the micron mesh so we could determine the coarseness before purchase? (Fat chance in a labeling environment where millions in salaries for FDA negotiators resulted in the "less than 0.5 grams transfat = zero" for labeling purposes).

        For the more homogenized scrapple that I've made (livermush), I've used the local generic milled degerminated "yellow corn meal" with good result. Its graininess adds texture to the matrix.

        In households of 4,5, 6 people, I've seen many mornings where scrapple was heated in the oven to save stovetop space. The slices crisp nicely. I've since used my toaster convection oven to duplicate that effect. Makes great slices for the lunchbox scrapple sandwich.

        Thanks for the ingredient ratios on your post.

        1. re: FoodFuser

          Toaster oven - of course! I always finish my pots of cheese grits in there, and slices of scrapple ought to work equally well. I have just enough left over to experiment with for a couple of lunches this week. Needless to say, I'm relishing the prospect...

          1. re: Will Owen

            Curious to hear how it goes, as yours from headcheese has a higher gelatin content and larger particulates, compared to the cornmeal-firmed slurry of livermush.

            1. re: FoodFuser

              As noted on another thread, there are several differences between livermush and what's more widely known as scrapple. A Pennsylvania Dutch cookbook I have, in fact, has two scrapple recipes: one, called simply "Scrapple", calls for ground liver, while the "Philadelphia Scrapple" recipe uses chopped pork shoulder.

              I was concerned that the gelatin content of mine would cause it to disintegrate when heated, but that's not been the case - the cornmeal is definitely holding everything together very well. I still haven't gotten around to trying the toaster oven experiment. I'll have to try that tomorrow.

          2. re: FoodFuser

            FoodFuser: So you're saying that the federal workers are making the big bucks and that's why we don't have much honesty in labeling? Wah? More like the guys who manufacture stuff want it to sound the best it can without them actually having to do anything to make it better (less fatty, less salty, etc.) paying off congresspeople to give them a pass.

            1. re: oakjoan

              I spoke only of coarseness (measurable), and a transfat labeling of 0.5 equals zero. The salaries of all those involved simply follow.

      2. YAY!

        I Love Scrapple - When I lived on the West Coast I had friends bring it out since it is so hard to find there.

        Thanks for the recipe, will give that one a try!

        2 Replies
        1. re: tommyskitchen

          tommyskitchen: I know what you mean about Scrapple being hard to find out here on the Left Coast. My father, although born and raised in Los Angeles, started feeding us Scrapple at an early age for weekend breakfasts, along with eggs and broiled tomatoes. I imagine it used to be easily found in the supermarket because we always had it on hand. We all loved it.

          These days, now living in the SFBayarea, I don't see it in any stores, but it is on the breakfast menu of a local cafe in a chic section of Berkeley - Bette's Diner.

          You've given me the impetus to make my own now! Thanks.

          Another of my father's breakfast dishes which isn't from any particular part of the country or famous was canned corned beef hash with wells made in the middle into which eggs were placed and the pan covered. Served with tomato ketchup with green onions sprinkled on top. Sounds gross, but I've made it in the past couple of years and it tastes wonderful to me.

          1. re: oakjoan

            One of my favorite suppers as a lad was that CB hash with eggs in the dimples. Mom made it exactly that way, on the stovetop, and we invariably had spinach with it. No ketchup, though. We weren't big ketchup eaters; it was mostly kept as a cooking ingredient.

        2. That sounds really good! I've always lived in the south, but as a kid I remember traveling to Pennsylvania and being told very pointedly by my older brother and sister to *not* eat scrapple because of "all the guts in it"! Consequently, I've never tasted it!

          I have access to some great head cheese and some great corn meal, so I think it might be worth giving it a shot for breakfast next weekend!

          Today I had something that I would bet might taste similar- in kind of a "north meets south" moment, I cooked up some smoked boudin in a frying pan, added a can of hominy (drained), added some salt and a lot of pepper, and ate like a King!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Clarkafella

            Check this out - it is very good! (and I love regular Phila Scrapple!)
            http://www.sarahsavories.com/HOME.html

            1. re: Bigley9

              I've heard great things about the "Vrapple" from vegetarians and non-vegetarians...maybe I will wander down to Milkboy and get some this weekend...

          2. Very good idea, and one I may try. My grandmother's scrapple was more homogeneous than what you describe here. The corn meal was worked into the meat paste, but I have no idea how typical that is. Hers is the only scrapple I've ever had.

            1. sounds good... but I (or dear departed Mom) have never done better than Rapa Brand original from Delaware. I just slice it up in 1/4-3/8" slices no flour, just fry it in cold dry pan.

              1. Here's a link from the goetta thread, Goetta is a scrapple endemic to the Cincinnati area, characterized by steel cut oats instead of cornmeal, and a mix of pork and beef rather than headcheese or liver.

                It's a good article, with links to further goetta stuff.
                http://cincinnatimagazine.com/article...

                4 Replies
                1. re: FoodFuser

                  That is a wonderful and inspiring article. And I just happen to have a couple of pounds of those oats lying around... Thank you so much!

                  1. re: Will Owen

                    Yes. I like the author's openness to say that there's a wide range of acceptable recipes for this humble food.

                    I didn't know about goetta (with oats) until a few years ago, but it fits nicely with my assessment that oats are indeed the best overall grain. (I often do a 50/50 oat groat and brown rice when I want a "best" carb). Samuel Johnson's definition of oats as "A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people." has seasoned a few hundred years as we still fill the feedbuckets of our thoroughbreds with this grand grain, for good reason.

                    I see a focal point in FoodFuser's future where oat groats and flint corn are ground in the Vitamix to yield the coarse meal for boiling with the meat/offal ingredients. But, at that point, we won't know just what to call it, or how to classify it.

                    That's just fine with me.

                    1. re: FoodFuser

                      essentially scrapple is Haggis in pig's clothing as any good Scot wud know. Just a different animal and grains involved. Use a sheep and pin oaks it's Haggis, use a pig and corn it's scrapple. No doubt it came across the North Sea with the Celts from the Netherlands and Germany. A good way to use up the "pluck" -- organs one would not normally consume on their own, but too valuable for its protein. Being from Baltimore much of my life, scrapple was a regular Sunday morning thing in my family.

                  2. re: FoodFuser

                    I have made this. have heard it pronounced 'ghetta'.
                    It is delicious.
                    I must make this for my husband, thank you for posting, although it is in our churches cookbook also, as added by me, forgot about it tho. :(

                  3. Will -- you use 2-1/2 cups liquid to one cup cornmeal. Isn't the usual ratio four to one?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Sharuf

                      I was following an existing recipe here, but I'm glad you brought that up, because I was forgetting that the mush cooked up way too thick too fast and needed liquid added. I think it's funny how errors in traditional recipes so often have to do with grain-to-liquid ratios. I have a box of grits from a small mill whose box label instructs me to use a 2 to 1 ratio, which is totally wrong. Maybe them folks jes' likes'em chewy...

                    2. I am on here looking for scrapple recipes.
                      I googled scrapple and came up with boring sounding recipes, nothing like my MIL made.
                      Altho I have her recipe, and have never attempted making it, it's time.
                      It's overdue, it's something my husband craves and our sons adore.
                      I need to see a recipe, printed out, here in front of me, so I can read and follow.
                      I know for sure, hers contained liver and parts.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: iL Divo

                        I grew up in Allentown and we always bought it from the Amish from Lancaster and Reading. I love it with maple syrup. Living in Calif I cant find anything like it. So I researched thinking I could easily do myself. Well many many years ago I went out to an amish farm and asked the farmers questions. They start with the hogs head and braise many hours ,with other scraps . The liver gets tossed in also. When its falling apart they scrape out head and add herbs, lots of sage for sure. Where I came from we always had buckwheat scrapple, I never saw the golden color scrapple till I had once in Ca.
                        I gave up, as the hogs head was available but wasnt sure what to put the damn thing into. I used to mail order or pick up when back east...but havent recently now I am getting hungry again for good old buckwheat scrapple.

                        1. re: iL Divo

                          iL Divo, since scrapple can run a pretty wide gamut of ingredients, and you're trying to recreate the beauty of your MIL's version, may I suggest the following:

                          Post her recipe, verbatim. Then, once we have her list of ingreds and proportions, some of us with home scrappling experience can help you tweak it to fill in any parts of the technique. DH may be helpful in recalling any personal touches she added.

                          Also pertinent: what part of the country did she get it from?.

                          1. re: FoodFuser

                            Smart idea FoodFuser.
                            My husband did some spring cleaning while I was away for work a couple of weeks ago. MUCH I mean MUCH, went to the dumpster before I was the wiser. Still furious and trying to remember all of what was in the covered cabinets in the patio area, as they're now all gone so all in them is gone too, he rescued a little of the gems contained in them.
                            One being his moms recipe. I knew I had it, but didn't know I'd stored it along with many cookbooks in those cabinets. Thankfully, I'm holding it and reading it now. It's dated Jan. 1977 guess that's about the time I asked for her to write it down for me.
                            It's handwritten on notebook paper.
                            She was from Monongahela Pa.
                            She just passed in July and I need to do this for him, he's grieving...

                            about 20 good sized thickish pork chops.
                            about 2 1/2 lb 7 bone chuck roast
                            pigs feet in a jar.
                            1 heart.
                            1 lb liver, says she always had to use beef as she never saw pork but thinks it'd be best if I could find that.
                            rinse meats in lots of water. strain the feet of liquid.
                            put all of them in pressure cooker covering with beef/chicken/vegetable stocks [that she then explains to me how to make] just to cover meat and use salt [sparingly] and pepper. Pressure cook about an hour on low rocking.
                            Render meat from bones. Put broth in sieve to strain, let cool. When all cooled, scrape off and discard fat. when meat is cooled, grind in meat grinder and return to broth.
                            about 3 cups of yellow corn meal and just enough water to barely make it moist so it won't clump. slowly put that into the broth and meat constantly stirring. cook on low about 10 minutes. put into buttered glass loaf pans. cool in frig until set up then take out and slice individual slices and wrap each one in cling or plastic wrap, she mentioned the brand but don't know if I can say it so won't, it's extra good and expensive. at least it was back then.
                            freeze until ready to use.
                            butter in pan, melt, scrapple in, cook until browned, flip to other side, brown just barely and serve.

                            1. re: iL Divo

                              I share your pain at the unipartite dumpsterization.

                              But the recipe survived. And like so many of those notebook paper handwritten legacies, there are a few tough spots for perfect duplication. Kudos for wanting to reproduce it.

                              The most important question is the cut of pork that constitutes "a thickish pork chop." DH (dumpster hound) can help you here: were pork chops, on family pork chop night, from the pork butt ( = pork steak/ shoulder steak)? The beef 7 bone cut is the equivalent to the pork butt. So, tentatively, it's my guess that Mom used pork butt steaks, as opposed to loin or rib chops. So, if hubby identifies pork steak as that ingredient, you're home. It's going to be 10-15 lbs of pork.

                              This is a very beefy recipe, vs pork, but it's what you're wanting to recreate. Thus, we can think that the "heart" is a beef heart.

                              Pig's feet in a jar. Gosh, what size? DH might know. size ranges from a gallon jar to a pint. They will add the source of gelatin that helps to homogenize the mixture. Fresh pig trotters, pressure cooked, could sub.

                              It's a lot of meat-pickin' ahead for you. One of those labors of love. One thing I see that could add richness to the scrapple is: While you are picking the meat, drop the picked bones into the simmering un-lidded pressure cooker. Once all the bones are in the p.c. then you can connect the lid and pressure cook those marvelous bones as long as you can while you pick the fat and then grind the meat. (I grind at first at coarse blade, then regrind at fine).

                              Plunge in to this fun project, iLDivo, and get back via this thread. It sounds like a good adventure.

                              PS: as a cultivator of a 15 year old bush of sage, consider a wee bit of this fine scrappling herb.

                              1. re: FoodFuser

                                well thanks, that was very interesting reading.
                                ok her son, my husband, was never home to see mom make the stuff.
                                he couldn't tell me hide nor hair of anything you mentioned.
                                no memory, no need, as long as it was on the plate for him to enjoy.
                                so, he's no help.
                                I have 4 kinds of sage in my backyard and I think it's a desired herb as well.
                                one I have that is real pretty is varigated. pink purple white green.
                                I must get busy trying to find time to do this huge ole project.
                                if it's not good, I'd be so sad, from the effort and the lack of authenticity from his moms original. as I said, our sons adore the stuff, daughter and I, nut uh. But it's worth trying, at least once, before I can't find the kitchen anymore.......

                        2. I bought my friend SCRAPPLE for his Birthday, and a week later he had have a stint put in. I do not know if they are realted but.....

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                            I'd be willing to bet that was kinda like giving a nice cigar to a lifelong smoker, and then worrying that it had given him his emphysema. You don't get that clogged up with a little scrapple!

                            1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                              OM gosh.........that's awful, but sure it's not your fault or the fault of the scrapple, but something to consider when making for my irreplaceable husband :(

                            2. I'm from Virginia, where RAPA scrapple was a breakfast staple. I've lived in Texas since the mid '80s and have been suffering through withdrawals eversince. I used to find it in Tom Thumb, Winn Dixie, and Central Market, but no more. RAPA will ship, but they aren't quite operating in the current century. (They don't take credit cards and won't ship until your check clears their bank---as of about a year ago anyway). I may have found an answer though. My family physician owns a ranch. This afternoon he and I are going to attempt to make our own. I'll fry some up tomorrow morning and report back on how it turned out!

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: gordo737

                                RAPA is pig candy.... had some yesterday AM

                                1. re: gordo737

                                  Well, I just reread my previous post and realized I never reported back on the homemade scrapple. Well, I didn't turn out as well as I thought it would. I started experimenting with different spices afterwards and it improved some. I don't buy RAPA anymore, since it's too difficult to get here in Texas. But a Krogers near me, (Ridge Road in Rockwall, Texas) sells some made by Jones Country Farms. IMO it's good. We use ketchup or syrup. The kids spouse, and dog all love it. Hope this helps!

                                  1. re: gordo737

                                    gordo, is there contact information in your profile?
                                    email or web site one could contact you or no?
                                    I for one, don't have it in my profile although used to.

                                  2. Just finished making the scrapple and putting it into the many loaf pans of all sizes I own. The last bit had to go into my 2 1/2 qt LeCreuset round oven/stock pot.

                                    Yesterday [early] I started to make all the fixings for it, roasted the meat and veg all day long in a well seasoned simmering broth. It smelled wonderful in the house when I'd run in and out after errands. Wanted to skim the fat off the broth so put the 16 qt stock pot in the chest freezer for a few hours then skimmed this morning. It easily came off, like a sheet. Husband could not figure out why I was doing this > didn't understand that I didn't want all that grease and fat and slime in the finished product.
                                    I'll show him the huge amount of rendered fat when he comes downstairs, then he'll see what I was talking about, so glad I did that.

                                    Getting the ratio correct is difficult. I'll see once it sets up in the loaf pan how I did. I'll need to portion out each slice like MIL always did. Hoping it sets up so I can quick fry for hubby this morning. We'll see how I did.

                                    MIL's recipe is highly respected by me and I must copy it [in some form] for the kids, sons especially, for when I'm gone as gramma now is.

                                    I hope this breakfast item [new to me who just finished constructing it for the first time ever] will be enjoyable to my husband. It's very important I get it just right. I do remember MIL always telling me that "This year it came out just right" or "This time I made it perfectly" or "I've done better, maybe too much corn meal or the liver and heart wasn't present enough". Gad, how will I ever get this righ? Like her, it'll be a labor of love for the ones who mean so much to me.

                                    Gordo737, did you ever make the RAPA?

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                      iL Divo,
                                      Sorry it took so long for the reply. No, I never made RAPA. We bought it at the grocery store. I'm in Afghanistan at the moment, going through scrapple withdrawals.

                                    2. To those from Scrapple territory, forgive me if I am breaking too far from tradition here, but I have made a 'refined' version of Scrapple using pork sausage. Forgive me too for learning about this version from the Frugal Gourmet.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: John E.

                                        You're forgiven *>}

                                        Husband says for sure not enough liver/heart flavor.
                                        He says next time double that and also more sage but then it's not frozen yet.
                                        I did the scoop and flatten method then into my screamin hot cast iron skillet to crust on both sides.

                                        He's thanked me several times for the attempt and also
                                        starting his New Year off with a bang.
                                        It's just gonna take some tweaking is all and maybe a
                                        hidden sleeve of breakfast sausage altho I'll keep that last part secret ;>}

                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                          New Year's Scrapple. Neat. Especially when passed down.

                                          Would you be open to sharing your ingredients and ratios in that MIL recipe?

                                          1. re: FoodFuser

                                            It's about 12 posts above this post of mine.

                                            My husband said it was a very good outcome for my first try.
                                            Since MIL didn't give me exact amounts such as for the corn meal [she says "about"] and the innerds, it was hard for me to figure it out, I just kept putting in more of this or that.
                                            It needs more inner pig parts, for sure, he says it's lacking that punch that they impart.
                                            I am not sure how much of say, corn meal, I used but the ratio of meat was so much and the broth, all that broth, needed a lot of corn meal.
                                            Also much more sage etc next time, much more herbs.

                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                              You have a chance here to become the Real Goddess
                                              of purveyor of ancestral recipe of scrapple.

                                              What ingredients did you use, their amounts, and their techniques?

                                              1. re: FoodFuser

                                                ..................you mean I was supposed to have a method? oh sheesh, that's where I went wrong.............. :)))))))
                                                since this'll take way too long to write out now, I'm dyin on the vine here and tired too, so tomorrow if I can muster up to best of my memory what I did, I'll surely tell.

                                                one thing I do know, I spent a boatload of cash on the ingredients...........but I digress :/()

                                              2. re: iL Divo

                                                Yes, please, ID. Don't worry about late MIL's recipe. Just tell us what YOU did. I've never had scrapple so I'd love to see your version. Thanks in advance.

                                        2. I have to confess I take shortcuts in my scrapple -- first, I usually use Albers Quick Grits. :)
                                          I made a meatloaf a couple of days ago. Since I like my meatloaf on the herb-y side, I used those pan juices to make my scrapple, just added water to get the volume I needed.
                                          Second shortcut -- I like a creamy, liver backnote, so I stir some liverwurst or braunschweiger into the broth. If I'd had some chicken livers, I'd have used them.
                                          Cook the "cornmeal" at a low simmer (also helps the creaminess), maybe add a little broken up meatloaf, finely shredded leftover roast, chicken, whatever, test the seasoning, and it's scrapple! Add fresh herbs if you like.
                                          Purists aside, start to finish, that being fried scrapple on my plate, was about 20 minutes, including letting it set up in some little individual silicone loaf pans I have. Slice them once horizontally, and it's a perfect portion for one or two, depending on how much you like scrapple.
                                          It's a way to use leftovers, so the less planning and actual work I have to do, the better I like it. ;)

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: ruthieren

                                            hi ruth

                                            I suppose scrapple can be what you want it to be.
                                            I thinks it's supposed to be from leftover scraps.
                                            MIL did it her way, and I'd bet there are gazillions of ways of creating scrapple to your/our liking.

                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                              Il Divo, yes! It was a way to use up bits and pieces in the process of eating the whole hog. As long as you have cornmeal, some herbs (classically, marjoram, as I believe someone said here) and a mix of meat-ish scraps, including a little liver, usually, you can make scrapple. Never mind the recipe, make it so it tastes good to you! I eat mine with hot sauce and sea salt. What did a California girl know from scrapple? I ate it the way I liked it.
                                              I, too, tend to go crazy trying to find ingredients and follow the recipe the first time I make something new to me, then I figure out what's really needed to make me happy and modify. ;) After being reminded of this again, I'm getting a craving. Oddly enough, I was planning to make meatloaf again -- those juices made a really flavorful cornmeal base.
                                              Keep on cooking!

                                          2. now I'll have to seek out that Armenian market.
                                            can I get the name of it please, TIA.
                                            since I didn't know what that Bavarian spice mix consisted of, I looked it up.
                                            sounds great, here's what one says the ingredients are.

                                            Bavarian Seasoning
                                            crushed brown mustard
                                            rosemary
                                            garlic
                                            thyme
                                            bay leaves
                                            sage