I recently butchered a hog for the first time. This was a pretty big deal for me and I wanted to be sure I used as much of the animal who’s life I had harvested as I could. The skin and ‘guts’ were wasted, but every other usable bit found its way into my freezer, thanks in part to a comment on my Facebook page suggesting I try out making “Scrapple.” I’d never heard of this before and I’m so happy to have tried making it! It is delicious! Only slightly more time intensive than making stock and much less time required for canning: this will be a go to recipe for me from now on.
If, like me, you didn’t grow up familiar with the Pennsylvania Dutch treat, here’s a brief recipe with tips on making this at home. Not butchering a hog anytime in the near future? If you buy whole/half hogs from local farmers and have them processed by a butcher, request the butcher to return the bones and use those. OR buy some cheap cuts of bone in pork (shanks/trotters/butt roast) and make it using those.
How to Make Scrapple/ Pon Haus
- 2.5-3 quarts rich stock
- 3 cups cornmeal
- salt/pepper to taste
- optional seasonings/herbs including: sage/thyme/crushed hot pepper/savory
- optional chopped hot peppers and garlic
Scrapple is basically a polenta loaf made with cornmeal and rich pork stock, chilled into loaf form then sliced and fried in your chosen delicious fat (lard or duck fat for me, pleaase!). It all starts by making the rich stock. This is what i started out with:
Looks appetizing, doesn’t it? No. BUT cover in water and boil for a few hours and you get some gelatinous/nutritious/mineral rich stock. Included in my stock pot is 1 large red onion, a few bay leaves, salt, pepper and the bones left from butchering a hog: spine/trotters/tongue, etc. I omitted the liver as i didn’t want this livery tasting: liver taste really takes over. I also threw in some old hambones that i’d saved after finishing up some ham roasts. Cover all this with water, bring to a boil and simmer with a lid on for several hours. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for several more hours. Once cool enough to handle, pour the stock through a colander into another pot. I used a pot that has measurements on the inside. Don’t throw away those bones quite yet, though! At this point i put the bones in a tupperware and the new stockpot both into the fridge until the next day. If you started earlier than me continue to the next step now.
Cook the stock down until you have 2.5-3 quarts of liquid. In the meantime pick all the meat off the bones and chop coarsely. Discard the bones (I compost mine). Bring to a boil then gradually add the cornmeal, stirring as you go. Reduce heat to medium/low and continue bubbling and stirring for about 15 minutes or the ‘glop’ sticks to a spoon fairly thickly. Add your chopped meat and optional hot peppers and garlic and stir/simmer for another 10-15 minutes or so. Taste for seasoning: This stuff is fairly bland on its own so you need to add plenty of herbs/salt to your own taste.
Prepare two loaf/bread pans with sheets of wax paper folded inside to make removing the loafs much easier later on. Divide your gloppy mixture between the two pans and place in the fridge overnight. You may wish to cover in foil or saran wrap. Once cooled the Scrapple will be firm and will pop out of those loaf pans, ready to slice! Slice into even slices and lay out on layers of wax paper on a cookie sheet. I sprinkled a bit of flour between each layer. Freeze like this then store in ziplock bags, ready for sunday brunches for weeks to come!
To Cook Scrapple:
You may cook straight out of the freezer or allow to thaw. Heat a cast iron pan to medium with a generous dollup of your favorite cooking grease: lard, duck fat, bacon grease, butter – please, no margarine! 😉 Sprinkle a bit of flour on each side of the scrapple and place in the pan. I cooked frozen so i put a lid on my pan while i cooked the first side to help heat the center. Cook until golden brown on the underside and flip, cooking until each side is nice and crispy. The inner texture is a bit puddingy so don’t be surprised if your scrapple wants to fall apart in the pan, a bit like cooking mashed potato pancakes. Serve with fried eggs and a side of apple butter or hot sauce/ketchup or slathered in maple syrup. It’s a bit sweet/corny, a bit savory…. We thought it tasted like hashbrowns, sausage and french toast had a love child together.
Did you grow up eating Scrapple? Have you ever made it? Share YOUR favorite variations!