Scrapple

RAPA

Scrapple [skrap-uhl], known by the Amish by the Pennsylvania Dutch name ‘pon haus,’ is a mush of pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and wheat flour, often buckwheat flour, and spices. The mush is formed into a semi-solid congealed loaf, and slices of the scrapple are then panfried to form a crust before serving.

Scraps of meat left over from butchering, not used or sold elsewhere, were made into scrapple to avoid waste. Scrapple is best known as a rural American food of the Mid-Atlantic states (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania). It is found in supermarkets throughout the region in both fresh and frozen refrigerated cases. It is arguably the first pork food invented in America.

The roots of the culinary traditions that led to the development of scrapple in America have been traced back to pre-Roman Europe. The more immediate culinary ancestor of scrapple was the Low German dish called ‘panhas,’ which was adapted to make use of locally available ingredients. The first recipes were created by Dutch colonists who settled near Philadelphia and Chester County, Pennsylvania in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Scrapple is typically made of hog offal, such as the head, heart, liver, and other trimmings, which are boiled with any bones attached (often the entire head), to make a broth. Once cooked, bones and fat are discarded, the meat is reserved, and (dry) cornmeal is boiled in the broth to make a mush. The meat, finely minced, is returned to the pot and seasonings, typically sage, thyme, savory, black pepper, and others are added. The mush is formed into loaves and allowed to cool thoroughly until set. The proportions and seasoning are very much a matter of the region and the cook’s taste.

Scrapple is usually eaten as a breakfast side dish. It can be served plain or with either sweet or savory condiments. The state of Maryland is particularly in favor of scrapple topped with grape jelly. In composition, preparation, and taste, scrapple is similar to the ‘white pudding’ popular in Ireland and the spicier ‘Hog’s pudding’ in England.

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