Today is National Scrapple Day. Scrapple came to be when butchering communities sold off the valuable cuts of an animal and used the remaining parts with a filler like flour and cornmeal and added spices. After letting the mixture solidify, they sliced it and fried it to create a nutritious and filling and delicious meal. Over time Americans used the result for a breakfast meat.
Cincinnati has many unique culinary charms and one of them is a special variant of scrapple called Goetta. In the 1800’s many German immigrants settled in the Queen City and at the same time it became a major pork processing center. To extend those left over butchering scraps they created a special local version using pin oats which were more abundant in the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky region than the buckwheat, barley or rye they might have used in Europe. It remains very popular in the Cincinnati region and not far beyond. I tried a recipe (see beneath pictures) cobbled together from several sources you are welcome to try and comment on. I’ll be trying variations after enjoying my current batch, which is quite delicious.
If you didn’t wish to cook your own you can order them online from several different sources. Eckerlin Meats is my family’s tradition found in the Findlay Market and at http://eckerlinmeats.com/. Glier’s Goetta is the most popular brand and they hold a GoettaFest every August in Covington and can be found online at http://www.goetta.com/home/. Another notable brand is Queen City Sausage and you can find it at https://www.queencitysausage.com/. Thanks to the internet you can get it delivered to your home or you can make a version at home, see below.
In a 5 to 6 quart slow cooker combine
4 cups water
4 cups beef broth
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons marjoram
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 bay leaves
Cover and heat at high heat for 20 minutes. Add
2 1/2 cups pin oats (also known as Irish Oatmeal – do NOT use rolled or instant oats)
Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 90 minutes, stirring often.
If too thick add up to 1 cups water to dilute (should be thick but stirrable). Add
1 pound pork sausage
1 pound ground beef
1 white or yellow onion diced (can use red onion but will change color)
3 cloves garlic, diced
Stir well and frequently on low heat for 3 hours, covered.
Turn off heat, uncover and add
1/2 cup cornmeal
Stir in well and let set for 30 minutes.
Stir once more and place in two greased 9x5x3 loaf pans. Place pans in refrigerator overnight. Turn out and cut into 1/2″ to 1″ slices. If eating within a week, refrigerate, separated by wax paper. To keep longer, place slices in freezer, separated by wax paper overnight. Keep slices in sealed bag until ready to eat.
Because of the pin oats Goetta is notoriously difficult to keep in perfect slices while cooking. Alternately scramble with your spatula while you cook. This gives more fried surfaces which are the best part! Enjoy!