Friday, January 2, 2009

Turkey Scrapple

According to Wikipedia, "Scrapple is a savory mush of scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal... The mush is formed into a loaf, and slices of the scrapple are then fried before serving. Scraps of meat left over from butchering... were made into scrapple to avoid waste... Scrapple is typically made of hog offal, such as the head, heart, liver, and other scraps, which are boiled with any bones attached (often the entire head), to make a broth... Scrapple is arguably the first pork food invented in America. The first recipes were created more than two-hundred years ago by Dutch colonists who settled near Philadelphia and Chester County, Pennsylvania in the 17th and 18th centuries."

OK, so that's the history of pork scrapple in the United States. So how did turkey scrapple end up becoming a tradition in this California Greek's household? Well, years ago, before I was married, a friend from church came over to my parents' house for Thanksgiving dinner. Somehow, during the course of the preparation & cleanup, she described how she used the turkey carcass to make scrapple. It sounded really interesting to both me and my mom. My mother decided to give it a try, and we both loved it. I've been making it on my own for over 30 years now. Every roast turkey dinner results in scrapple for breakfast. I like this tasty solution to the turkey carcass quandary a lot better than the usual turkey soup.

After slicing off the turkey meat, I gather up all the bones & skin and dump everything into a huge stock pot covering everything with water. I add a chunked up onion, carrot, and celery stalk. I also add a couple of large pinches of dried rosemary, thyme, & sage. I'll throw in 3-5 whole allspice berries and at least a teaspoon of whole black peppercorns too. Finally, I'll add a bayleaf or two and maybe even a couple of cloves of garlic cut in half. Bring all this to a boil, lower the heat, and let it simmer for hours upon hours.

When the turkey stock is rich and flavorful, I'll strain out the solids and pick through the cooled bones to pull out meaty chunks.  Most of the time I roast a 12-14 pound turkey, so I'll end up with quite of few nice meaty scraps. I'm very careful to not include bones or cartilage in my meat pile. I refrigerate the remaining broth overnight. The next morning I'll remove some of the fat that has congealed on the top.

I follow the basic corn meal mush recipe found on the Albers Yellow Cornmeal box (I usually make two recipes' worth). This gives me the correct proportions of liquid to cornmeal. However, I cook the cornmeal in the turkey broth until the mixture is super thick. Then I add the reserved turkey meat scraps and cook an additional 20 minutes. I also add some sage and thyme to the cornmeal while it's cooking, sometimes finely chopped onion too.

When the scrapple mixture is so thick that I can hardly stir it, I spoon it into Pyrex loaf pans that have been lightly sprayed with Pam. I let the scrapple loaves cool completely, cover them, and refrigerate. To absorb any condensation, I usually put a folded paper towel on top of the loaves before covering.

The next morning, I cut 1/2 inch slices and dredge them in flour (I prefer thick slices). I fry them in a couple of tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes per side. I like them really crispy and really browned. I usually fry up enough for 2-3 slices each, depending on how hungry we are. I think we could probably eat an entire loaf's worth at one sitting, but I try to exert some form of self control. I serve the crispy turkey scrapple slices with a drizzling of either honey or maple syrup. Leftover turkey gravy or cranberry sauce is good too.

Turkey Scrapple
(Printable Recipe)

3-1/2 cups broth, divided
1-1/4 cups Yellow Corn Meal
1 tsp. Sage
1 tsp. Thyme
1 tsp. Rosemary
1 tsp. Dried onion

I warm the refrigerated & defatted broth in a dutch oven over low heat. I measure out the amount of broth I'll need for one (or maybe two) recipes of corn meal mush. I set aside whatever broth will not be used. Then I pour about 1-2 cups of warmed broth into a bowl and whisk the corn meal into it. I bring the remaining warm broth to a boil in the dutch oven. I do not salt the broth. At this time, I'll add at least a teaspoon each of rubbed sage and thyme. Add optional rosemary, dried onion, if desired. While stirring constantly, I whisk the cornmeal/broth mixture into the boiling broth. I reduce the heat to low and cook for at least 30 minutes until the mixture is quite thick. Then I add the reserved turkey meat, stir it into the cornmeal mixture well, and cook on low for another 20 minutes.

Pour/scrape mixture into lightly greased loaf pans. Let cool. Cover and refrigerate until solid and cold.


OhioMom said...

Growing up with a southern papa, I have only had the pork version, this looks much tastier :)

Happy New Year!

Dick said...

Having also grown upwith scrapple and having served enough of it that it became a kid's favorite before I went the heart failure/low sodium route myself, I will definitely have to give this a try.

Dick from

Thanks for the link, by the way ... :)

shambo said...

Dick, I'm honored that you visited my blog. I've been referring to your website and receiving your monthly newsletters for a long time now. They've been most helpful and encouraging.

Thank you for your gracious comments.


Sarah T. said...

Scrapple! I've been craving scrapple for about ten years.

Nate-n-Annie said...

I think I'd cook that! Next time I have a turkey.