Scrapple is an American recipe classic from the Mid-Atlantic states. A hold-over from leaner times when whole animals were raised and every part was used, traditional scrapple recipes were a way to use, and stretch mixed parts of pork offal by cooking them with cornmeal, buckwheat flour, and spices, cooked into a thick porridge that sets when chilled, after which it’s sliced into thick pieces and gridled until crisp.
For those wary of eating organ meats because of a stronger flavor, scrapple might just be the answer, cooking the meats with cornmeal smooths out and mellows the flavor, and mixing with the cornmeal and buckwheat, gives it a smooth, even texture that fries up beautifully in a pan. Odd as it may sound to some, the traditional way to eat scrapple is often for breakfast, garnished with maple syrup or fruit preserves.
Chef Bergo’s scrapple is special in that instead of pork, it features lamb or goat offal, or a mixture of both. The proportions listed could be easily changed to what’s on hand too. Only have liver? Just use that, or maybe experiment with a combination of liver, heart, and kidneys in whatever amount is available.
Think of the recipe as a formula that you could make your own. One thing Chef definitely reccomends though is to cook the flours in the cooking liquid from a lamb shank, or other stock made rich with collagen through slow cooking with a bone. The collagen helps ensure a solid, firm set when the scrapple is chilled, and adds a great, complimentary flavor to the finished product.
This recipe is by chef Alan Bergo. A chef from Minnesota, Alan is a veteran of the culinary industry, former executive chef of acclaimed Lucia’s Restaurant, and the Salt Cellar. Founder of the website Forager Chef, he’s best known as a respected authority on Midwestern foraging. Learn more about Alan and his hunt for mushrooms, wild and obscure foods at Forager Chef.
- 2 lamb spleens (6 oz)
- 8 oz lamb liver, cut into medium-sized chunks
- 1 whole lamb fore shank, with bone (10oz)
- 2 cups fine cornmeal
- ¼ cup buckwheat flour
- ½ cup yellow onion, diced small
- 25 teaspoons kosher salt
- 6 cups water
- 2 tablespoons lard or cooking oil
- Maple syrup, for serving (optional)
- ¾ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground allspice
- Cover shank and spleens with the water, cover with a lid, then simmer or bake at 300 for 2 hours or until very tender. Chill the shank and spleen until cool enough to handle. Reserve the cooking liquid, there should be exactly 4 cups, if there isn’t add enough water or stock to make up the difference.
- Remove the meat from the shank bone, trim the spleen with a sharp paring knife, then put the spleen, liver and shank in a meat grinder, or puree in a food processor until fine. Sweat the meat mixture to evaporate the water in a saute pan for 2-3 minutes, then reserve, and allow to cool, covered.
- Meanwhile, Whisk the cornmeal and buckwheat flour with the salt and spices, and combine with the 4 cups of cooking liquid in a saucepot big enough to hold it. Heat the mixture, whisking constantly until it thickens, then turn the heat down to low and cook for 15 minutes.
- Add the cooked meat to the cornmeal mixture, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking on the bottom for another 30 minutes. You can also bake the mixture at 300 for 30 minutes, or until very thick, as long as it’s covered.
- When the mixture is very solid and the cornmeal is well cooked, pour the mixture into a greased loaf pan, there may be a small amount of excess. Chill the scrapple, uncovered on a counter until room temperature, then refrigerate until completely set before slicing.
- To serve the scrapple, cut ½ inch slices and fry until crisp on both sides, and serve for breakfast or lunch, with maple syrup on the side, if desired.