Wish Upon A Dish: Homemade Scrapple without the Oink!

September 14, 2012

Homemade Scrapple without the Oink!

I have a secret. I watch Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives and I like that show.

I can't say the same for The Nudge. He constantly reminds me that he's making a sacrifice for ME, on Monday nights.

I keep telling him I don't watch it for Guy, but for the ideas I get for dishes and techniques that are done on this show and that I can make for HIM.

I do actually keep a notepad on my night table for when I hear something I might want to expand upon. Then I can write down the dish or idea because most recipes in that show are not listed.

Anyone who reads this blog knows I have a love affair with corn in any shape, form or color. Married to a man who's family hails from Philadelphia PA, scrapple was a staple on his breakfast table.

Many years ago I watched the Frugal Gourmet make homemade scrapple and it looked good. I had never eaten scrapple and thought I should order it the next time I saw it on a menu. Back then I really had no idea what polenta was but because of 'The Frug' I did know that scrapple was made with cornmeal and bits of pork products, then fried and served with maple syrup. I later found out that the store bought kind had a reputation for using all the pig products (offal) even the hot dog manufacturers won't use.

I got my first taste of scrapple in Atlantic City, whose daily attendance consists of at least 80% PA residents, and I thought they would have decent scrapple. That one time was enough to never give it another thought.....until the other night, when I watched a diner make scrapple, not in PA but in CA, and Guy loved it. I tucked this dish away on my nightstand until the next day....there was a 50/50 chance this recipe was online.

I knew why this was not the type both me & Guy hid in our napkin. This was something I had to try. It was up-to-date, made with pork products I could easily buy in my local market and it was made with polenta. YAY!!

I even had pulled pork leftovers looking for a home. Once again, the leprechaun tossed me a coin, and I immediately put it on the menu.

The Nudge thought it would be like a sausage patty and although the taste was OK, he couldn't wrap his mouth around the consistency. I think the ratio of meat to cornmeal was off and although the outside was crisp, the inside was soft.
I loved it, but I know this is not something he would like to see on his plate again.
Seems the old-timey scrapple from his childhood was sliced thin, fried like a potato chip and smothered with lots of syrup. I don't think he really remembers what it tasted like. Put sugar on anything and a kid will eat it. It was cheap and available.

For those of you who would like a healthier alternative to sausage and toast with your eggs, you should try this. It really is just fried polenta cakes, flavored with pork, and with a an egg on top, is a great way to start your day.

I know I will eat this even without the egg, drizzled with Sugar-free syrup or topped with applesauce.

Recipe courtesy Bette Kroening, owner of Bette's Oceanview Diner, Berkeley, CA.
Makes 30 servings

* 1 whole pork butt, cut into 6 to 8 pieces
* 4 whole hocks, fresh
* 1 whole onion, peeled and cut in 1/2
* 3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
* 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
* 4 bay leaves
* Water
* 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
* 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
* 3 tablespoons kosher salt
* 1 tablespoon chopped sage leaves
* 3 cups white cornmeal
* 3 cups yellow cornmeal
* Clarified butter, for pan frying
* Applesauce or maple syrup, for serving

To a large stockpot, add the pork butt, hocks, onion, celery, peppercorns and bay leaves. Barely cover with water and simmer over low heat until the pork is tender and the meat falls off the bones, about 2 hours.

Drain and reserve the stock. Pour the solid contents onto a sheet pan so that you can easily discard the celery, onions, peppercorns, bay leaves and all of the bones. Make sure to pull the meat completely off the bones, being careful to remove all the small pieces of bone.

Add the meat to a food processor with blade attachment and pulse to coarsely chop. Don't over grind it.

Measure 1 gallon of stock and return it to the pot with the meat and cayenne, black pepper, salt, and sage. Bring to a simmer over low heat.

Add the cornmeal and stir, stir, stir. Simmer until smooth and thick, about 15 minutes or so. Add a little stock or water, if needed, to ensure a smooth texture.

Pour into 3 loaf pans and refrigerate until solid, preferably overnight.

Unmold, slice and fry in clarified butter until golden brown. Serve with applesauce or maple syrup.

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