Around here, we love talking about all things Chester County, including beer, movies, and unique attractions. Of course, what authority would we be if we didn’t cover scrapple? Originating from the greater Chester County area, scrapple is a Pennsylvania classic that simply cannot be ignored.
A Brief History
Germans started immigrating to the United States in the 17th century. Since then, they have brought much of their culture to the United States:
- Fashion (Levi Jeans!)
- Holidays (Christmas!)
- Technology (Boeing Airplane!)
- Food (Lager beer, and Scrapple!)
The original dish, panhas in Low German, was a popular dish among the lower class, both because of its cost-effectivity and stomach-filling characteristics. Eventually, a holiday was created for October to celebrate this dish specifically, called the “Apple Scrapple Festival.”
To this day, scrapple is incredibly popular in Chester County and the surrounding area, including Philadelphia.
What is Scrapple?
Nevertheless, even some Pennsylvanians might be thinking, “I have never heard of this in my life, and I’m a little scared.”
‘Scrapple’ is a dish made from ‘scraps.’ In simplest terms, scrapple is a bit like a meatloaf. Traditionally made from pork, the loaf is baked together from various boiled pig parts, including:
Then, the meat is minced, and combined with cornmeal and various spices. The loaf is then sliced thickly, fried, and served as a breakfast side. This dish isn’t limited to savory palates: it is often eaten with sweet sauces like:
- Maple syrup
- Apple butter
Or more common condiments like:
How to Make Scrapple
Cooking this is simple enough, but finding the ingredients might be more difficult in today’s society than it was in the 17th century and earlier. For starters, to get the scraps, you’re going to need a trustworthy butcher who can set aside the ‘extra bits’ that others might not be looking for. While earlier we mentioned that the meat used is usually pork, beef and turkey may also be used. Ideally, this is what you’ll need for a true scrapple.
- An entire pig’s head (no, seriously, this is the most important part)
- Hog offal, such as the heart, liver, and other trimmings
- Juniper berries
- Bay leaves
- Black pepper
- White pepper
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Buckwheat flour
- First, boil the pig head, and all other meat bits, skimming off what floats to the top (trust me, it’s not worth keeping).
- Add vegetables to the boiling water, stir in bay leaves, and add the black pepper.
- Lower to a simmer and cook until the meat has started to fall apart.
- Remove the pig’s head and meat, and separate from bone/other inedible pieces. Remove any parts of the pig you don’t enjoy, like the eyes, tongue, or extra grisly fat.
- Chop it all up and mix with the remaining spices.
- Strain the broth into a new pot, simmer, and then add the cornmeal and buckwheat flour. Stir constantly and pour slowly, so you don’t get any lumps, and wait until it turns thick and mushy before moving to the next step.
- Add in the seasoned, chopped meat, stir, and cook together.
- Finally, pour the mixture into a loaf pan, cool it, wrap it, and refrigerate overnight,
The next morning, you can start your day with a fresh, homemade slice of scrapple for breakfast (we highly recommend pairing it with apple butter, of course, another Pennsylvania favorite).
Love it, hate it, wherever you are on the spectrum, scrapple is just another example of what makes our home unique. Tell us your best/worst scrapple experience in the comments below, and be honest, how many ingredients could you name before checking out our recipe?
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