Today is a rainy autumn day, and scrapple is a great breakfast or brunch dish for such a day – though it could easily be served for dinner as well. You make it in advance and refrigerate or freeze it, then fry it up to serve.
Scrapple is one of those dishes borne out of the “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without ” ethic. Though versions of it date far, far back in time to pre-Roman Europe, as well as white pudding, black pudding, and hog’s pudding currently served in the UK, in the US we associate it with the Pennsylvania Dutch. Traditionally it was made at this time of year – hog-slaughtering time – along with its counterpart, head cheese (AKA brawn or souse). All of these dishes used the parts of the hog not used for anything else – boiling the carcass to remove small bits as well as the gelatin in the bones. (Before you make retching sounds, let me just say that anyone who eats McDonald’s or hot dogs doesn’t have much room to complain.)
This version doesn’t require procuring an entire hog. You do need plain ground pork, which isn’t always readily displayed in the supermarket. If it’s labeled sausage, it’s been seasoned already, so get the unseasoned. Ground turkey or chicken would also work here.
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon powdered sage
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
- 1 cup cornmeal or polenta (not corn flour)
- 1 quart chicken broth
Start by cooking the pork and onions together in a wide frying pan.
Clockwise from top: thyme, powdered rosemary, rubbed sage, hot pepper flakes. In center: sea salt.
Add seasonings to pan and cook for a couple of minutes.
Then pour in the broth.
Slowly pour in the cornmeal or polenta.
Stir the polenta thoroughly to eliminate any lumps. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened. This would be a good time to use a splatter screen, because the cornmeal mixture tends to pop like crazy, and if it hits you it burns like crazy.
Let it cook over low heat about 15 minutes. Then pour it into a loaf pan.
Refrigerate until cold.
Slice about 1/2″ – 3/4″ and panfry until crisp. Serve with maple syrup and eggs. You can also slice it, wrap in freezer wrap, and freeze until needed.