Philly’s other famous meat dish

Meaty and mushy, often with a faint flavor of liver, scrapple isn’t the kind of food one would expect to inspire cookbook authors, culinary historians or a dedicated local festival.

But in an age of organic salad greens and vitamin-enhanced water, this modest breakfast side has maintained a loyal following. If anything, the Philadelphia dish has gained a cult-like status of late.

Case in point: This spring’s Scrapplefest at the Philadelphia Reading Terminal Market, which features samples, celebrity scrapple tastings, and even a wedding cake made from—you guessed it—scrapple.

There’s even a book, William Woys Weaver’s “Country Scrapple: An American Tradition,” which bluntly explains the dish’s origins as “a by-product of butchering made outside or in a special outdoor shed.”

Traditional scrapple, Weaver writes, consists of a mixture of meat and flour cooked in meat stock until it thickens. It is allowed to stiffen and set like Italian polenta, then is sliced and fried until brown and crispy.

For the uninitiated, Weaver writes, it’s just a matter of getting used to, noting that “hot dogs and fast-food hamburgers contain far more frightening ingredients.” —Joanna Glasner

Old-Fashioned Scrapple

INGREDIENTS

1 pound boneless cooked pork loin, chopped
1 cup cornmeal
1 14-1/2 ounce can chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, or as needed

COOKING DIRECTIONS

In a large saucepan combine pork, cornmeal, chicken broth, thyme and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer about 2 minutes or until mixture is very thick, stirring constantly. Line an 8x8x2-inch baking pan or a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with waxed paper, letting paper extend 3-4 inches above top of pan. Spoon pork mixture into pan. Cover and chill in the refrigerator 4 hours or overnight. Unmold; cut scrapple into squares. Combine flour and pepper; dust squares with flour mixture. In large skillet brown scrapple on both sides in a small amount of hot oil. Serves 12.

Source: National Pork Board