Saturday, January 21, 2012

Scrapple

It's a snowy Saturday today, so what better thing to make than scrapple?  Yes, yes, I can hear the skeptics: "Why make scrapple when you can buy it?" My answer is that I can make scrapple that tastes the way I like it, I can control the amount of fat in it, and I can avoid using the pork scraps used for commercially prepared scrapple.

The signature flavor in scrapple is pork liver, which I think most don't realize.  You can't have scrapple without that liver-y flavor.  It's masked with the spices and mellowed by the mush, but the fundamental flavor is liver.  You get that flavor using liverwurst, which is a sausage made of pork liver.  I then add good roasted pork to that, to bolster the meatiness, season it aggressively (I like sage and pepper), and bind it all together with a cornmeal mush.  Old-fashioned scrapple typically used buckwheat mush as well as cornmeal mush, the buckwheat imparting its own distinctive flavor.  I didn't have buckwheat flour in my pantry, so I used a whole-wheat cooked cereal, along with the cornmeal, in a one-to-one ratio. 

The mush:
1 c cornmeal
1 c whole-wheat or mixed-grain cereal
6 c stock
3 T bacon fat
1 Tbp salt

Add the cereals to cold water.  Add salt.  Bring to a boil.  Cook over low heat until, well, mushy, and sufficiently stiff that upon cooling, it will hold its shape.  That might take 30 minutes over a low flame. 

The meat and seasoning:
10 oz leftover roasted pork (I used spare ribs)
8 oz liverwurst
1 Tbp dry sage, rubbed
1 tsp thyme
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp salt

The assembly:
Mince the pork in a food processor.  Dump into a mixing bowl.  Add the liverwurst, and mash up the liverwurst with the minced pork until there is a uniform mixture.  Add herbs.  Add about 6 cups of the mush.  Mix well.  You can add more mush if you want, but I've kept it to just enough to hold it all together.  Season well with salt and pepper.  Taste for seasoning.  There's nothing raw in the mixture, so don't be fearsome about tasting. 

Pour the mix into loaf tins that have been lined with non-stick foil.  Smooth the top.  Cover.  Cool completely.


To serve, remove the loaf from the tin, slice it into half-inch slices, dredge in flour, and fry over medium heat in an oil-filmed skillet.  Turn and brown each side.  Serve with eggs, pancakes, waffles, toast.


Fried scrapple, with a couple eggs....

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