Eastern Shore of Virginia Recipes


Provided by Will Brown


First the history:

Abstacted from _Thirty Five Receipts From "The Larder Invaded"_ by William Woys Weaver, The Library Comapny, 1986, Philadelphia.

Scrapple is a medieval dish, a sort of a pot pudding that evolved... In Wesphalia and northern Holland, the region where Philadelphia scrapple evolved, was thickened with blood and buckwheat flower. In Philadelphia, unfortunately, blood had a commerical value in the processing of sugar and was far too valuable for the likes of scrapple. The buckwheat was cut in half with cornmeal, allowing even less ground meat per pound of scrapple than its European counterpart. It was no longer in the haute cusine category.

Scrapple was eaten in connection with butchering day festivities, it was therefore a cold weather dish made from October to March. Although is is available now all year round, it was never then considered a hot weather food. The following is Elizabeth Nicholson's receipe and probably dates from the 18th century:

"Take a pig's haslet and as much offal lean and fat pork as you wish, to make scrapple; boil them well together in a small quantity of water until they are tender; chop them fine, after taking them out of the liquor; season, as sausage; then skim off the fat that has risen where the meat has boiled, to make all soft, throw away the rest of the water, and put this altogether in the pot; thicken it with 1/2 buckwheat and 1/2 Indian. Let it boil up, then pour out in pans to cool. Slice and fry it in sausage-fat, after the sausage is done." From _What I want to Know; or the Hints on the Daily Duties of a Housekeeper_ by Willis P. Hazard, 1856

Note: a pigs haslet is the heart, the liver and other edible viscera of the animal. I had alway thought that scrapple was made of the meat of the head of the pig. Of course this would be considered offal meat: the jaw and face meat (not the brains).

The seasoning used were sage, salt, pepper, and cloves. Here is an up-do-date adaption of Elizabeth's Nicholson's receipe.

3 lbs of fatty pork
3 qts. water
1 1/2 cups of buckwheat flour
1 1/2 cups of cornmeal flour
2 tsp salty
1 1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 1/2 tblsp. ground sage
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Simmer the meat in the water about 4 hrs until tender. Strain and reduce broth until it is about two quarts. Grind the cooked meat and fat in a meat grinder and add it to the broth. Add the cornmeal, the buckwheat and the seasonings and simmer until thick. Stir often to keep it smooth. Add water if necessary. When it has the consistancy of mashed potatoes, pour batter into six inch bread pans. Allow to stand until cool, and then refrigerate overnight.

As a child we would often have scrapple on Sunday morning with eggs or pancakes. It is especially good when it is fried crisp, and is mixed with a little egg yolk or syrup (not both!)


Will Brown

Do you have Eastern Shore of Virginia family recipes you would like to share with readers of this web site? If so, please e-mail them to Jack Burn jackburn@swva.net . Thanks

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