Pho - Vietnamese Soup

Pho - Vietnamese Soup
One of our favorite dishes - Pho

Monday, January 24, 2011

Scrapple with Homemade Fresh Pork Sausage in Honor of David's Grandpop


This recipe is in honor of David's Grandpop, Sara's Dad, Dick Moffitt.  For the last 25 years David's mentioned from time to time how his Grandpop would make them scrapple for breakfast when they'd go to visit him on the Chesapeake Bay.  When I ran across this recipe I had to make it for David to take him back to his early, cherished days he spent with his beloved Grandpop. 

When preparing this recipe for the first time I will admit, I wasn't that crazy about the smell, until I started the frying process.  It certainly isn't an eye pleasing dish at first either, the kids weren't too sure about this recipe, but ultimately they liked it.  It definitely is an interesting technique and will take some perfecting.  I couldn't find pork broth so I substituted that with beef broth.  Also, it's important that the sausage not be too chunky when you combine the sausage with the cornmeal mixture or the scrapple will fall apart when you go to slice it.  I think in order to get to the desired crispiness, the thinner your slices are the better.

To prepare scrapple you will need an 8 cup bread loaf pan and a board or plate that will fit into it and various items for weighting down scrapple after baking.  I used a loaf pan that was a tad smaller than the pan I used for the scrapple and a 5 lb. weight fit perfectly inside.

Traditional farm scrapple is made, literally from pork scraps and bones that are boiled up together for 2 hours or so with herbs and aromatic vegetables - carrots, onions, celery.  The meat adhering to the bones is then scraped off and chopped, along with the other pork meat scraps.  The cooking broth is strained and boiled up with the cornmeal, then the two are combined, and that is the scrapple.  We prefer using a good quality pork sausage instead of pork scraps.

4 cups pork sausage meat, preferably homemade (see recipe following)
4 cups pork stock or other flavorful meat stock in a 3-quart saucepan with heavy bottom
1 TBSP or more of fragrant sage leaves
1 cup yellow cornmeal, stone ground preferred
1/2 cup cold water
3 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute' sausage meat in a large frying pan until it turns from pink to gray, breaking it up with a fork as you do so - 5 minutes or more.  Drain in a sieve set over a bowl, and reserve  fat - which may be used for sauteing finished scrapple later.

Meanwhile, bring the stock to a boil, adding sage to taste.  Mix cornmeal with cold water in a bowl, then whisk in a cupful of the hot stock.  Return cornmeal to stock, bring to a boil whisking slowly, and cook for 5 minutes or more until mixture is thick, like cornmeal mush.  Cover pan, set in a larger pan of simmering water, and cook for 30 minutes.  Remove from pan of hot water and boil over moderately high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until cornmeal is thick and heavy and holds it's shape in a spoon - the thicker the better, so that it will unmold and slice easily later.

Beat the cooked and drained sausage meat into the cornmeal, breaking it up so that it will blend nicely, and boil, stirring and beating 3 to 4 minutes.  Beat in the eggs.  Taste carefully for seasoning: scrapple is traditionally fragrant with sage and highly seasoned.

Butter an 8 cup loaf pan, line bottom of pan with wax paper, and then turn the cornmeal mixture into it.  Cover with wax paper and aluminum foil and bake for an hour or more in a preheated, 350 degree oven, until mixture has swelled and is bubbling hot.

Remove from oven, place a board on top of the scrapple (over the wax paper an foil) and a 5 lb weight (canned goods, meat grinder etc), and let cool.  When cold, remove weight and board, cover airtight and chill.

Once baked in its pan, scrapple will keep for at least 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.  It can be frozen; however, pork products tend to lose texture and savor after 2 months or so in the freezer.

To serve, run a knife around inside of mold on top of stove to heat and loosen bottom; unmold onto a cutting board.  Slice into serving pieces about 3/8 inch thick.  Dredge lightly in cornmeal, and brown on both sides in rendered sausage fat and/or butter.

Serve for breakfast with fried or poached eggs, or fried apple slices; or use as a dinner meat, accompanying the scrapple with green vegetables such as broccoli or cabbage, or a green salad or cole slaw.

Homemade Fresh Pork Sausage

8 cups fresh ground pork - including 2 - 3 cups fresh pork fat or blanched salt pok fat - from shoulder, rib or loin
1 TBSP salt
1 TBSP sage
1 tsp mace
1/2 tsp cracked pepper
1 tsp paprika
4 - 5 TBSP white wine or vermouth
Optional other herbs: thyme, allspice

Grind pork not too fine in meat grinder or processor, beating in seasonings and wine or vermouth (to lighten the mixture).  Saute' a spoonful and taste, then correct seasonings as you feel necessary.

This is best made a day ahead, so that the flavoring will have time to blend with the meat.

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