Meat porridges such as scrapple or the unfortunately named liver mush are specialties that are particularly easy to make at home. They vary in their makeup, but share four characteristics.
- are made with meat (finely ground or chopped pork is most common, though beef, poultry, and even bison are not unheard of)
- are thickened with cereal or buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum)
- have a thick, gruel-like consistency when cooking
- thicken on standing so that, once cool, may be sliced and fried
|Yep. It's a Kookbook.|
Her recipe didn’t seem to survive. At least, I haven’t found it yet. I recognized the gist of it, though, in a recipe from a Prohibition-era fundraising cookbook from Addison, Illinois just outside Chicago. The recipe is, simply, Gritz. Its use of steel-cut oats puts it firmly in the Germanic Ohio/Kentucky goetta tradition while its call for pork bellies appeals to modern eaters who have rediscovered this unctuous cut of pork.
From the 1927 Kinderheim Kookbook, here’s Mrs. W. G. Bohnsack’s recipe for
4 to 5 lbs. of fresh pork sides (the part used for smoking bacon), cut in 3 or 4 inch pieces
Cover with hot water, add
1 teaspoonful sage
1 teaspoonful thyme
1 teaspoonful sweet marjoram
2 to 3 tablespoonfuls salt
½ teaspoonful each of cloves and allspice (ground)
Boil until meat is tender. Take meat out of juice and put through meat chopper. Strain liquid and add to it 1½ lbs. steel cut oats and stir until it starts to boil and boil fifteen minutes stirring constantly. Stir in ground meat and let all come to boiling point. Put tightly covered kettle in oven at 300° and bake one hour. Turn off gas and let gritz in oven one-half hour longer. Stir occasionally while in oven. May be cooked on top of stove by stirring constantly 1 hour or until oats are soft. When cooked gritz must be consistency of corn meal mush.
Fry in iron skillet ten minutes for breakfast. Gritz should be made in cold weather only. Small pig's head may be used instead of pork sides. After having made gritz once, each cook can determine whether she needs more oats, less meat or more seasoning.
Goes well with:
- William Woys Weaver’s book Country Scrapple is a scholarly, but short and enjoyable, exploration of not just scrapple, but panhas, goetta, poor-do, liver mush, haslet, pashofa, backbone pie, and other such goodnesses in need of exoneration among squeamish eaters. I drew on it here for parsing out the shared characteristics of scrapple-like dishes and for some of the German vocabulary.
- My own bacon dumplings for a wicked hangover.
William Woys Weaver (2003)
162 pages (hardback)