June 7, 2011

Everything but the Squeal

I have often heard PA Dutch folks say that when they make Scrapple they use up every part of the pig but the squeal. The claim is believable, because the PA Dutch are nothing if not thrifty, and I can imagine they would really work at ways to use every scrap on the butchers block. But now that I have read the Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook, I know that this claim just isn't true. For Scrapple, you only need a hogs head. Hideous enough*, true, but a recipe using only a head, and one emptied of brains and eyeballs at that, just doesn't measure up to the "everything but the squeal" claim. 
*One of the most tasteful depictions of a pig's head available. Some of them will make your stomach flip.
Now if you want to get closer to the truth of that claim, the dish to make is Souse. Souse actually requires a pig and a half; not only does the recipe call for one pig's head, it also requires six pig's feet and six pig's hocks. Still, without eyes,brains, tongue or knuckles included in the recipe, it omits a lot of stuff besides the squeal. I think the complete pig using recipe remains to be devised.  Let's hope it stays that way!


1 pig's head
6 pig's feet
6 pork hocks
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 onions, sliced
3 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 blade of mace
3/4 cup apple cider

Clean pig's head, remove tongue, and split head open. Clean pig's feet and hocks. Place pig's head, feet and hocks in a large, heavy kettle and coveer with wateer. Add the salt and pepper. Bring to boiling and cook until tender. Remove meat from liquid and cool. When cooled, remove meat from bones and cut into pieces. Add sliced onions, peppercorns, bay leaf and mace to liquid in the kettle. Boil until liqid is reduced by half, strain and cool. Skim fast from cooled liquid. Place fat, meat pieces, and vinegar in a kettle and bring to boiling. Turn into a crock and add as much liquid as it will hold. When cold, this will set and may be cut into slices to fry, or used for salad or sandwich meat.  Yum, yum!

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