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Scrapple

 

Scrapple is a food that is most commonly associated with the Pennsylvania Dutch, but has a much longer history that goes back to Europe and, well, practically any other region that has ever raised pigs.

It’s a simple dish really; pork scraps, broth, some cornmeal or flour, and seasoning. Everything is blended together into a thick porridge, then once chilled, slices are fried in lard until they are crisp and delectable.

As many people today are either avoiding corn or wheat flour, I thought I would see if I could develop a gluten-free or ‘keto’ version of scrapple. It was also because when I went to make some scrapple, I discovered I was completely out of cornmeal.

For those paying attention to their carb/protein/fat intake, this recipe will give you a meagre .3g of carbs, 10g of protein, and 15g of fat per 6 ounce serving. You will be good and full after 6 ounces of this. If you make it with cornmeal, the carb amount is about 2g per serving, so not much really. (Yes, I go back and forth from Imperial to Metric. Drives my family nuts, and now you can enjoy the insanity.)

If you are not avoiding corn or gluten, you can follow the same recipe and method below, but instead of coconut or almond flour, add cornmeal or flour. 

To make this version of scrabble that doesn’t use any corn or gluten, I combined three scrapple recipes and did some adjusting based on what I had in my cupboards. 

 

Meaty Ingredients I used: 

20oz of pork heart

16 oz of pork jowl

8oz of pork butt (happened to be smoked)

16 oz of bone-in pork hock

Now, you can get pretty creative on the meat ingredients depending on what you have available, but you will need about 4 pounds of pork meat. You can add in a few ounces of liver, you can use nothing but ground pork, you can do pretty well what ever you want, as long as you keep the ratios of meat to ‘filler’ (filler as in cornmeal or nut flour) about the same: 4 pounds meat to 1 cup cornmeal or flour, or 1 1/4 cup nut flour.

 

Other ingredients I used:

3/4 cup almond flour

1/2 cup coconut flour

Salt, pepper, any other seasonings you like. 

As mentioned before, I couldn’t find any cornmeal to make this. I actually wanted to make one batch with cornmeal and one without, but couldn’t. I was also low on nuts, so I had 3/4 of almond flour left in a jar, and I had some flaked coconut that I ground up to add to this for a total of 1 1/4 cups of nut flour. Next time, I might skip the almond flour and just use coconut.

For best results, toast the nut flour before you add it to the mixture. Toasting the nut flour means it can absorb more of the fat and broth, so it will crisp up better when you fry it. 

If you want to make traditional scrapple, then add 1 cup of cornmeal instead of the nut flour. 

 

Here's how I made it:

1) I put the frozen pork hock slice into a pot and almost covered it with water. I turned it onto almost a full boil and let it cook away for about 40 minutes before I added the heart and other bits of meat.

Once the meat is soft and falling off the bone, set aside the stock that has formed to use later. 

Pull any bones out of the meat and throw those away. If you are using only ground pork, just fry it up, but you will need to make broth as well to finish the recipe.

Take all the cooked meat and chop it coarsely, or run it through a food processor, or through a grinder. Be careful, it's hot! 

Season the meat mixture with salt and pepper to taste, and feel free to add anything else you think would taste good. You could add some seasonings to the meat as it cooks, might be nice to add some garlic or chilli pepper flakes. Go on, be creative!

 

2) Now add the ‘filler’ to the mixture. So, whether you are using coconut flour or cornmeal, add it now and stir well.

 

3) Start adding broth to the mixture and then on a stove top heat up the meat mixture until the broth soaks into the ‘filler’. So, don’t add all the broth at once, keep adding it until you get a nice thick pudding or porridge consistency. If you are using cornmeal, it will need at least 15 minutes for the corn to absorb the liquid and thicken.

 

4) Put the mixture into loaf pans and let them cool. This recipe was enough for two full loaf pans, or three half filled loaf pans. I decided not to fill mine all the way up because I wasn’t sure how well things would stick together once they cooled. I thought a ‘shorter’ loaf would be easier to handle. If you are using cornmeal, don’t worry about that, you can fill up those pans.

 

5) Let the pans cool, preferably over night. Or, if you’ve made this in the morning, it should be ready to slice for supper.

 

6) Slice the scrapple and fry in a generous amount of pork fat. If you haven’t used cornmeal, you need to make sure your skillet is well seasoned, and handle the scrapple carefully, it will want to come apart. The cornmeal or wheat flour acts as a binder which holds it all together. 

The nut flour is more likely to want to stick to the skillet once it browns, and not to the slice of scrapple. So, handle it gently in the pan, and be aware that it may not plate up beautifully the way it would if you used cornmeal or flour. 

 

This can be eaten on it’s own, or it’s nice with a dip of hot mustard mixed with mayonnaise. 

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