Hard to beat Eric’s caption from his facebook post: “Dark and stormy, Scotch eggs, scrapple, fried pig ears, bacon jam, biscuits and pie. How’s your Thursday morning been?”
This was no New Year’s Resolution Health Brunch, as you can see. No kale and flax smoothies, no dry toast. There was a berry pie, and that’s about as close as we came to vegetables. We resolve to get together to cook real food, from scratch, and to raise a glass or two among friends. By that measure I think 2013 is off to a great start!
So, this was not your basic rib and chili party either, although we like those too. There were several notable new dishes, and we’re starting to realize that brunch presents a whole bunch of great sidemeat options. Dave’s
Pennsylvania Philadelphia-style scrapple, which he described as more like “polenta and pork shoulder,” as opposed to some of the more chunky-odd-bits versions, was a big hit. (Don’t worry, we’ll make one with snouts eventually.) It was an herby variety (not the sweet kind), with a little kick from some cayenne or pepper flakes, dredged in flour and pan-fried until crispy (update 1/4/13: see full recipe below). There was talk of marketing this as the pork equivalent of the crab cake, although “pork cake” doesn’t really capture the essence, does it?
Eric’s bacon jam contained a whole lot of good things (bacon, onions, bourbon, brown sugar, coffee), cooked down into a savory paste that everyone should have a jar of, stashed away somewhere, just in case you happen to find yourself in the possession of unadorned bread products at breakfast time. Or lunch time. Or whenever.
The biscuits were a basic buttermilk recipe, loosely based on the New Best Recipe‘s version but a little more free-form, a wetter batter, nestled into a cake pan, kind of like Shirley O. Corriher’s CookWise “Touch of Grace” biscuits, but not as complicated. (1 cup all purpose flour, 1 cup cake flour, 1 stick unsalted butter, 1 cup buttermilk, 1 T sugar, 1 T maple syrup, 2 t baking powder, 1/2 t baking soda, 1/2 t salt.) Did anyone snap a picture of these?
The crispy pigs ears made for some good textural contrast; crunchy, porky, and just a little chewy through the middle. Some of the thicker sections were actually meaty.
And the dish of the day was definitely Matt’s Scotch eggs, which were perfect. Hard-cooked eggs (not overcooked, I might add), wrapped in an even layer of sausage, breaded and fried until golden brown. There were several steps involved — cooking, cooling, and peeling eggs; dredging, sausage wrap, egg wash, bread crumbs, frying — but I think we were all pleasantly surprised how good they were. I mean, we knew they’d be good, but we didn’t know they’d be THAT good. They won over even the non hard-boiled egg lovers.
Throw in some homebrewed Scotch Ale (thanks also to Eric) and an early tasting of last week’s cider, and it was a party. Cheers, all, and thanks for a great brunch!
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Dave’s Philadelphia-style Scrapple (recipe added 1/4/13)
- 1 to 1-1/4 pound pork shoulder or pork butt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 2-1/2 cups reserved stock (add water or milk, if needed)
- 1 cups yellow cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay or Cajun seasoning
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon basil
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Olive oil, butter, or bacon grease for frying.
Cut up pork into chunks. Place the pork, poultry seasoning and cayenne in a stock pot and cover with water. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer gently for 2 to 3 hours, or until meat falls apart. Drain and reserve stock.
Remove meat from bone and chop all the meat with a knife. Measure 2-1/2 cups of stock and return to pot. Bring it to a simmer; add cornmeal and remaining spices, and stir constantly until thick and smooth, about 15 to 30 minutes. Stir in chopped meat to incorporate fully. Pour mixture into a greased loaf pan and refrigerate until completely chilled. Un-mold scrapple.
To serve, slice, dredge and fry until golden brown and crisp on both sides.