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A True Philly Breakfast
Well…now that I am literally back on my feet, Beck and I are about to make the obligatory journey to Philadelphia. We usually travel there at least twice a year. It is my home town, whereas Beck is originally from Knoxville Tennessee, having spent most of her formative years right here in Roswell, Georgia.
I love going back home. Mostly because I get to spend some good quality face time with the family, but definitely because of the cheesesteaks! You bet I’ll be blogging about them after I return. You can’t get a good cheese-steak outside of Philly and we always have them on the first day back, when we can that is.
Like most cities, Philly has it’s unique culinary treasures. The cheesesteaks and hoagies are among them, but one of my all time favorites is scrapple. Now Becky loves pork as much as I do, but she cannot bring herself to indulge in this crispy, tasty breakfast meat. It is made from exactly what it’s name implies, “scrap"ple. Now, don’t be fooled, it really tastes good, trust me. My mom and grandmom and great grandmom have been serving it up for a whole lotta years. I am fortunate that my local Publix market carries it. Scrapple is a Philly tradition for breakfast. Although it’s ingredients may not sound appetizing, I personally think it is one of the tastiest breakfast meats out there. Scrapple is a savory mush of pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and flour, often buckwheat flour. The mush is formed into a loaf. You slice it thin and fry it up till it is crispy on the outside. You’ll find it served up in diners all over the city and beyond. When I was in high school, they used to serve it to us for dinner with mashed potatoes and maple syrup. The syrup was for the scrapple. Mashed potatoes with syrup would just be gross!
For this traditional breakfast, I teamed up scrapple with homefries and Becky’s new favorite dish, creamed chipped beef on toast. This would be a big breakfast that you will be able to find at any diner. You won’t be served any grits nor will you find any biscuits and gravy. Nope. This is the traditional fare from my home town and it is truly delicious. The soldiers in WW2 called creamed chipped beef on toast, “SOS” for “shit on a shingle". I think they may have been served too much of it. When I was in the army, the mess hall served last night’s leftover hamburger patties, chopped up, in a milk gravy, over toast. YUK! Now, THAT is truly “SOS"!!!!
So if you ever find yourself in my old stomping grounds, make sure to try the “SOS", along with some scrapple and have a cheesesteak for lunch. You can have a salad for dinner if you feel guilty.
If you are feeling daring, give this dish a try. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.
So you wanna make this huh? Here’s how…
Get your home fries going first. They take the longest. We have these with most all breakfast dishes.
Philly Home Fries:
1 russet potato per person halved, then sliced 1/4 inch thick (I don’t like using Yukons in this application)
1 tbs bacon fat (you do have a large container of it in the fridge, right?)
(okay…you can use vegetable oil if you must)
1/2 white onion sliced (scale this depending on home many potatoes you use)
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat for one minute.
Add the bacon fat and let it melt - swirl to coat the bottom.
Allow to cook for about 3 minutes to get a bit crispy and brown, then turn them.
Cook for another 3-4 minutes, then turn again.
Reduce the heat to medium low.
Keep watch on them while preparing the other items, turning from time to time.
Cook for another 8 minutes until desired crispness.
For the creamed chipped beef or “SOS":
3 cups milk (warmed in the microwave - not hot)
1 jar dried beef (found in the potted meat section at the market)
3 tbs all purpose flour
good amount of white pepper
1/2 stick butter
bread for toasting
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add half of the butter.
It should sizzle and pop a bit.
Turn the meat and reduce heat to medium.
Push the meat to the side to make a well of sorts.
Add the last half of butter.
Whisk in the flour to make a roux.
Slowly stir in the milk. (no lumps!!!)
Add a little salt (don’t need much here, the beef is cured with it), and white pepper.
Stir and let simmer for about 10-12 minutes to thicken and cook off the flour taste.
I was in Philly about two weeks ago for my birthday. Went to see Frida Kahlo and the Rodin Museum among other things. I don't know your schedule, but check out the chamapagne brunch at the Museum of Art. It was decent.
now the dried beef? not feeling so good about that... but it's drowned in that buttery and milky gravy so i wouldn't turn that down either... cept i'd use bacon instead of that canned stuff. bacon gravy is just amazing stuff...
glad ur on ur feet again... did i miss something?
Nikki - Scrapple is the best! We will have to check out the museum brunch. We were looking for some things to do. I lived there all my life and have seen everything, so I have to yield to the wife and let her pick.
Claudia - I don't think I'll be making any scrapple from scratch. I personally don't want to handle what goes into it. But C, the dried beef is what gives SOS it's appeal. At least it's not Spam or Deviled Ham from a can. This was a jar. I'll eat a steak for you this weekend!
Bren - I love my swine!
Pixie - We'll have to start working on it, huh?
Val - It is!
Su-lin - Are you finished globetrotting? Scrapple is scarcely available outside of Philly. I was surprised to find it here in Georgia. I bet you could get it online.
Kay - I didn't catch that episode, but I will look for a repeat. That sounds crazy. Yeah, I always loved creamed chipped beef. Now my wife loves it.
Glad you're all better again. Have a great time on your trip!
I did a post on two Philly faves - scrapple (as you did) and also Taylor Pork Roll. You may enjoy it since you're a Philly guy originally: http://www.weareneverfull.com/dont-pork-this-roll-or-scrap-this-scrapple-the-dirty-culinary-pride-of-south-jerseyphilly/
Oh, and don't show it to your wife!! If she's already hatin' on scrapple, she'll probably not want to be around it ever again after reading it! Great post. I'm going to look around some more.