Monday, August 29, 2011

Auntie N's no-crapple scrapple redux スクラップル 再登場

We previously posted scrapple which is a well-known and somewhat dreaded Pennsylvania Dutch breakfast item widely served in diners in Philadelphia. The authentic recipe requires a hog's head but my wife made it from stewed pork spare ribs and since it is not made with any offal, we called it "Auntie N's no-crapple scrapple". I came across another "civilized" scrapple recipe in the Washington Post on line which does not call for a whole hog's head boiled for several days. I forwarded this recipe to her hoping she would try it--which she did.

Ingredients from the Post article:
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
25 ounces chicken broth, preferably homemade
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup flour, plus 1/4 cup for dusting the scrapple
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, or more as needed (may substitute butter)

The recipe calls for ground pork. Since this is "no crapple-scrapple" we didn't want to use ground pork from the market because then we couldn't guarantee it didn't contain any crapple. So we purchased a pork butt roast and ground the meat ourselves. Grinding the pork was the extent of my contribution to the dish. I handed the prepared pork to Auntie N and she took over the preparation.

Auntie N wrote: While I used the basic ingredients from the Post article I put them together differently based on previous experience making scrapple. I browned the pork in a saucepan then added the broth bringing the mixture just to a boil. I added the garlic and shallots. In a separate bowl I combined the cornmeal and flour. I slowly added the dry ingredients to the pork broth mixture whisking briskly to prevent lumps. As if making polenta I stirred the mixture until it got very stiff and pulled away from the sides of the pan. Then I added the old bay seasoning, chopped fresh thyme and basil as well as salt and pepper to taste. I poured the mixture into a bread loaf pan to cool.

To cook, I sliced the pieces that were about 1/2 inch thick, lightly floured the surface and pan fried them on medium high heat for about 5 minutes a side.

The pieces cooked up very nicely with a pleasing crust outside and soft center. It turns out that this is a much more refined scrapple than the one I am used to. While it had a pleasing pork taste it was not as permeating as the more traditional recipe. In addition the various herbs and spices are a very good combination in their own right but not the intense rustic flavors characteristic of traditional scrapple (which in fact many people don't entirely appreciate). If you are one of those people this is a nice variation and worth trying.


Steve said...

We make no-crapple scrapple, too - I have a preference for the lower end of the butt roast. While the yield is lower in terms of meat to bone as you move down the leg, you get better, more flavorful jellied stock. Further, I've always preferred cooking the cornmeal/stock to the desired consistency and then adding in the ground meat. Also, over the years we have gravitated to a more coarse grind of corn meal which really soaks up the stock and finishes the flavor nicely. Like all things, some prefer the texture and others don't.

In March, at Philadelphia's Scrapplefest 2011, several people sampling at the West Coast Scrapple food booth indicated to me that they always dipped their scrapple in flour before frying, which is what you indicate you do. I am curious as to why that is your preference? In our family we have never used flour when frying up scrapple and I wonder what the history is, if any, regarding using flour. Is it an East Cosat thing? Maybe in our family's move to the Pacific Northwest a few generations ago we inadvertantly dropped this step from our scrapple routine.

Thanks for the post.


Uncle N said...

We've always dredged scrapple in flour before cooking. My understanding is that it helps with the formation of a crunchy crust and that is what you're looking for--crunch on the outside and creamy on the inside. Best of luck with your scrapple enterprise. Also didn't know there was a Phila scrapplefest.

Aunti N

Steve@westcoastscrapple said...

I may have to revisit the flour method . . . I don't want a flour taste to affect the flavors/spicing we try so ernestly to create. I know cornmeal crusts up nicely, but I notice that unless it is served immediately off the griddle it will soften quickly. This is particularly aggrevating when cooking for a crowd and trying to get the eggs and potatoes ready all at the same time for the "perfect" plate. I try not to let scrapple sit warm in the oven for that reason. We had a scrapple party for 20 people two weekends ago and trying to serve all these "newbies" the perfect crusty/soft pieces of scrapple consumed me as the cook.

Scrapplefest is held bi-yearly in the Reading Terminal Market which, as a Seattle native, is essentially Philadelphia's version of the Pike Place Market. It is a farmer's market unmatched. Really cool place. I blogged about that experience on our site.

Thanks for the kind words of encouragement. We have a great product, and feel there is nothing but some good marketing between today and future success. If we can get our scrapple in people's mouths it sells itself.