Monday, July 21, 2008

Trying New Things: Scrapple

Karl and I decided to throw our worries about future heart disease to the wind this weekend and made a sumptuous breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, and scrapple. Originally, Karl had wanted corned beef hash, but can you believe it: not only is scrapple less expensive than corned beef hash (a 1 lb. block of scrapple at Shur-Save was $1.99, while a 14 oz. can of hash was $2.19), but it also boasts less fat and calories per serving (compare scrapple's 90 calories per serving to corned beef hash's 475!!). The fact that scrapple is pork-based was also a point in its favor, since Karl and I have been strictly limiting our beef intake for ethical reasons.
So, the scrapple won, much to my chagrin.

blithely describes scrapple as "typically made of hog offal, such as the head, heart, liver, and other scraps, 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, and seasonings, typically sage, thyme, savory, and others are added. The mush is cast into loaves and allowed to cool thoroughly until gelled."

Who wants a piece?

I never thought I would try scrapple, but I suppose the liberation of summer (and Karl's contagious reckless abandon) has made me bold. After we had some bacon going in the pan, I thought I would just add a couple of 1/2 inch slices of scrapple to the pan. This turned out to be not such a great way to fry scrapple. Because the scrapple contains some grains (ours had some wheat flour and cornmeal in it), the scrapple didn't hold its shape once all those grains soaked up a bunch of bacon grease.

However, the scrapple, though it lost its square mystery-meat look, was actually quite tasty (suprise!). With the bacon grease addition, it really just tastes like extra-salty sausage gravy (country style) that you would eat with some fluffy buttermilk biscuits.

This morning before work, I tried frying up some scrapple sans bacon grease (or any type of fat, actually), and met with a similar problem: the scrapple just doesn't hold together once it's being heated. I speculate that this is because what is holding the scrapple together is the congealed fat, which doesn't stay congealed long at higher temperatures, obviously. No big deal, the scrapple still tastes great. Without the bacon grease, you can definitely taste the liver content (liver has such a distinctive taste). If I could get a less salty version of scrapple, I would call it the poor man's pâté!

Honestly, in a time of my life when I am actually attempting to eat ethically, the idea of scrapple is somewhat pleasing because the product is made of the leftovers that would otherwise be wasted. While you could say that when one eats scrapple, one is eating "offal," I think you could also say that when one eats scrapple, one is avoiding unnecessary waste. Maybe I'm being a little too optimistic, but really, try it out and see for yourself.