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Scrapple

Guetta (pronounced “Goo-tah”) was served for breakfast during the winter until we ran out.  Guetta is made by first boiling off the really bony pieces of beef (or pork, sometimes) like the neck and organ meats, grinding the meat and returning it to the “soup”, then thickening the mixture with oatmeal.  It was stored in 3 gallon or 5 gallon stone crocks and kept in the cellar.  Early in the morning Mom would go to the cellar and scoop out a frying pan full of Guetta, put it on the gas burning stove to warm and usually get a yummy crust on the bottom of the pan.  I usually ate a serving of it over a slice of home-made white bread along with a glass of fresh milk.  I always loved fresh warm milk almost straight from the cow.  (When I tell people that they are usually like “Ewwww”, but I don’t care. I like it).

Since Mom spoke broken English (term used in the day for someone whose second language was English), the “r” at the end of a normal word wasn’t often pronounced.  Think “but-ta” for “butter”.  I assumed that what Mom was saying was actually “gutter”.  Now, telling your friends you had “gutter” for breakfast just wouldn’t do.  My sister said to refer to it as “head-cheese”.  I can’t say that sounded particularly more refined, but probably better than “gutter”.

My best friend, Wilma, came from north central Kansas in a German Lutheran community.  When I described “Guetta” to her, she knew what I meant.  “We call it ‘Knip’ and we eat it with syrup on top,” she said.  Eventually I read something in a magazine about something in Philadelphia that they call “Scrapple”.  I don’t think I ever read this clipping in Mom’s cookbook referring to Scrapple, but here it is.  I think Mom thought it was interesting that it could be made with chicken.

Scrapple

Someone was asking about scrapple, and I guess most folks think of it as being a cornmeal much with bits of pork or cracklings in it, and that is a very good kind; but I also make it with chicken. When we freeze our chickens, we put up some packages of just necks and backs, to use for soup, sandwich meat, etc.

Sometimes I cook up a package of these bony parts, save and strain the broth and add enough water, if needed, to make the amount of mush I want to make.  I take the meat from the bones, discarding skin, and set aside  Then I make the must and cook for about 15 minutes, than add the chicken bits (you can grind them in a food chopper if you prefer), and season well with salt, pepper, and whatever you like, and cook 15 minutes longer.

Then pour into a loaf pan and cool.  Place in  refrigerator over night, or at least for several hours.  We like it for breakfast.  Slice in half-inch slices and fry brown in hot fat.  Serve with butter and syrup.  If you happen to have some chicken fat to fry it in, that is fine, but most any good sweet fat will do; pork or beef or vegetable oil.

Hmmmmm….any good sweet fat…. pork fat rendered is “lard”, from beef fat rendered is “tallow”….vegetable oil……what would be a fat that isn’t “sweet”…..and how would it be classified…bitter?….sour?….hmmmm

Head Cheese (aka Guetta, Knip…..)

We brought cattle or hogs to be processed at Welch’s Locker in Frankfort.  Probably earlier in their lives, Dad and Mom did their own butchering.  Anyway, there were boney parts like neck bones, etc., that Mom would use to make Guetta.  Remember yesterday when I was talking about Mom and Dad’s pronunciation of words confusing me sometimes?  Well, they made “Guetta” with those neck bones, but I always called it “Gutter” assuming that last “uh” syllable was actually “er”.  At some point, Mom  told us that the American name for this was Head Cheese……I can’t say that sounds any nicer. After cooking up a batch of it, Mom put it in a stone crock and stored it in the cellar outside.  Mom would fix the same thing for breakfast every day until we ran out, then on to something else…like pancakes, that were actually more like crepes.  That’s another story for another time!  When we had Guetta in the cellar, a big batch was spooned out into a big old black frying pan, then heated on the gas stove until it was nice and warm with a brown crust on the bottom.  As people came through the kitchen ready to eat breakfast, you would spoon a batch of it onto a slice of home-made bread….oh, and yes, fresh milk from the morning’s milking that was still a little warm.  

I always had a fondness for the dish, although it was too difficult to explain to people who didn’t understand what it was.  When I lived in McPherson, I once described it to my best friend, Wilma, across the street.  “Oh,” she said, we call that “Knipp”.  She originated from another German Lutheran settlement around Kinsley, KS and she knew exactly what I was talking about.  Except, in their tradition you would put pancake syrup on it!  Ewwwww…….not for me!  

 I’ve researched this a bit on the ‘net, and found recipes from up in Ohio and other German communities.  We have a recipe that uses ground beef and ground pork in it, but the texture isn’t to my liking.  This last winter our son-in-law gave us some neckbones they got when they sent a hog to be processed.  So, my husband tried his hand at making it the old-fashioned way.  Now he knows what I was talking about with the texture thing and he prefers the flavor and texture obtained from boiling boney parts.  Funny thing…..he’s the one that eats this for breakfast when we have it, but his idea is that it isn’t served on bread but has to be accompanied by fried eggs.  He just doesn’t get it!

Here is the recipe from the cookbook that Betty copied on tablet paper, then somehow it got pasted into the cookbook.   I can just picture Betty telling Mom that we needed to have the recipe for this good stuff written down and Mom describing how its made.

Headcheese

Put the head, the heart, the tongue and other left oven meat in a boiler and cover with water.  Cook for at least 4 hours.  Grind the meat. The water that is left over from the meat should have in it – onions, salt, pepper.  Then boil.  Put in oatmeal and cook.  Add meat and cook some more, stirring constantly.  Add more salt if needed.

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