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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.

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  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.