I grew up outside of Philly and there are a few foods I ate that I really miss now that I am eating gluten free and dairy free. Cheese Steaks and Hoagies (not a sub) on an Italian roll, Tastykakes, Hot Pretzels and Scrapple. Well I’m working my way through the list and have eaten some really good gluten free and dairy free versions of these items, except scrapple. So this week I took on scrapple.
At our house we ate Habbersatt Scrapple. For those who are not familiar with scrapple it’s made from pork, spices and cornmeal. Most companies that sell it also add wheat flour so it’s not allowed in my house. It has a different taste and consistency than sausage and I could eat it for every meal. When you slice it up and cook it in the frying pan, let it get a nice crispy crust. Some people where I grew up would eat it dipped in ketchup. Some people will put ketchup on everything. I like mine plain.
So I searched the Internet for recipes that would work for me and there was not one complete one that I liked so I took the basic components of scrapple, added what I wanted, left out what I couldn’t have and gave it a go. The verdict was scrapple. It tasted just like the scrapple I grew up with. I was dancing in the kitchen and got a high five from my husband. He also taste tested it with me. From the time we started dating I’ve cooked him scrapple, so he knew what the commercial brands tasted like.
So here is my recipe and I hope you will give it a try even if you have never eaten scrapple. It does not cost much to make and it makes a lot so it should last for many meals if you slice it and keep it in the freezer. You can put the slices in the microwave to get the freeze out of it. I put it on low or level 5 for a minute. When you cook scrapple put it into a cold pan and turn it up to medium high. When it’s really brown and crispy turn it over. The second side will cook much faster.
I’m looking for people to participate in Diane’s Test Kitchen with this recipe. All you need to do is cook it according to the directions and send me your feedback according to how easy the recipe was to follow and how it turned out. A photo should be included. If you are interested in participating or have questions, please Email Me!
Cooking the meat-
2-5 pound pork shoulder (pork butt)
1/2 package of bacon, chopped – I use Organic, Dry Rubbed Uncured Pork Bacon from Wellshire Farms. Make sure your bacon is gluten free.
2-4 bay leaves
4 sage leaves or 1-2 tsp dried sage leaves
water to cover meat in crockpot
Mixing the scrapple-
2 cups Organic yellow cornmeal
4-6 cups of pork stock (created when cooking the meat)
1 tsp sage
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp savory
1-2 tsp salt
1-2 tsp pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 ground bay leaf
Cut the pork butt into 2 inch chunks except for the part around the bone. You can leave that whole and use that cooked meat for your scrapple or, I saved it and will use it in tamales or some other recipe. Place the pork into your *crockpot with the large piece fat side facing up. Add bacon, sage and bay leaf to the pot. Now pour in water so it covers the cut up port butt. I didn’t cover the larger piece with the bone completely with water. Cook on high for 4-6 hours. You know it’s done when you pull out the larger piece on the bone and the bone comes out clean with no effort.
Now that the meat is cooked, you want to get the pieces out of the crockpot and reserve the liquid. Whatever technique you like will work but this is how I do it. I place my strainer over a large bowl, then with a slotted spoon scooped out the large chunks with the bacon and placed them into the strainer. There will be liquid that drains off. Then toss the meat into your food processor.
The last piece I pull out is the large section with the bone. With the pot empty I now pour the liquid into the strainer which is draining into the large bowl. This will give you the pork stock you need to finish off the scrapple. Discard items in the strainer unless there are pieces of bacon. I put them into the processor. I also saved that larger piece of pork for later and just mixed the smaller pieces for the scrapple.
Once the meat is in the food processor, add in the spices, sage, thyme, savory, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Process until a smooth consistency. If you let it go too long it will be too fine but I don’t like pork pieces in my scrapple.
Now transfer it into a large stock pot and add in the cornmeal and start adding in the stock and bring it to a simmer. You want it to be thick and smooth but not watery. This will take around 15 minutes. If you add in too much water it will take a little longer for the water to cook off. Note on the stock– it will have a lot of fat that rises to the top. If you want to cut down on the fat content skim it off. Or you can mix the stock and pour it in right away before it separates out again.
Now it’s ready to put into loaf pans. You can use 2 large or 4 small. Whatever you have on hand. I had 1 large and 2 small. I would recommend you line the pan with plastic wrap so when you want to take it out of the loaf pan it will be much easier. I didn’t do this and it took me some time to get it back out once it had set up.
Place the loaf pans into the refrigerator until completely chilled. This will take a few hours so I suggest you make it in the evening and eat it in the morning.
After is has set up, take it out of the loaf pan, slice it up, about 1/4 inch thick, and place it into a cold pan then turn on to medium high. You don’t need to add any oil to the pan, it has enough contained in the scrapple. Fry it until it is brown and crispy, then turn it over and again, fry until brown and crispy. It only takes 5-10 minutes to cook. Now it’s time to enjoy. I sliced the entire loaf and then separated them with wax paper, placed it into a large zip lock back and put it into the freezer. This way I can just pull out a few slices at a time and have scrapple anytime I want.
Like Now! My scrapple is waiting for me to cook it up so I’m going to do that now. Talking about it is driving me scrapple crazy.
*note- if you dont’ have a crockpot you can cook this in a large stock pot on simmer. I just can’t leave a pan on the stove and walk away and I’m not staying there for 3 hours. I often burn things left on the stove. I’m sure you are much better at that skill than I am.
Don’t forget Diane’s Test Kitchen. Let me know if you want to participate.