Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Little More Pennsylvania Dutch...

We have friends who are from Spain. She just graduated from college and her family visited over the Christmas break. They traveled all around trying to sample the local history and sights of the Central Pennsylvania region. I thought it might be fun to cook a local specialty for them. What do you feed international guests, you ask? Why, stuffed pig stomach, of course! Hog maw is a derivative of a German dish brought to America with the farming immigrants that settled in this area. Traditionally it's a dish that was either served on hog butchering days or on New Year's Day as a "good-luck" dish. The pig's stomach can be bought at local butcher shops and is stuffed with various ingredients, including sausage, carrots, and potatoes.

I love the fact that when I make this dish I am carrying on a tradition that my grandmother also included in her family. She also added stuffing to her hog maws and I follow her recipe. While it is a novel meal, we also really enjoy it. We add lots of ketchup on the side, as the vinegar cuts the richness of the dish. I usually serve pepper slaw and spiced apples, as I think it provides a nice complement.

The recipe is an easy one: stuff a maw (pigs stomach that has been thoroughly cleaned!) with cubed potatoes, carrots, raw sausage meat (out of the casing), onions, and unbaked stuffing (white bread, lots of butter, celery, onion, parsley, salt and pepper). I layer mine (ie, a little sausage, then the veggies, then the stuffing, and so on). The stuffed maw is placed into a large baking pan with some water in the bottom (maybe a 1/2 inch) and baked for at least 3hrs, covered, in a 350 degree oven. The maw should be baked, uncovered, an additional 30 minutes, or until browned on top, sliced, and served. If made correctly, the layers will create a tight result, and can be sliced laterally and served.

I forgot to take a picture of the finished product, and we didn't have any left (yes, it was that good!). Here it is before it was baked. Sometimes I feel like I'm part of a dying breed: I simply love carrying on traditions that were started in my family long ago. I would love to hear about any regional specialties that you are still making.


  1. We make ours with only sausage and cubed potatoes. It's really good. Mom tried to use turkey sausage last time in one of the maws. It didn't work. Not enough grease to soak into the potatoes and make it taste delicious!

    I didn't know that it was traditionally served on hog butchering day and new year's day. We eat it for Christmas and Easter. And sometime birthdays too. Kim likes it with tons of ketchup. Mom likes it with horseradish. I like it with cocktail sauce. :)

  2. yes, the grease is definitely key!
    My parents eat it with horseradish...I think I'll try cocktail sauce the next time.
    Thanks so much for sharing...
    does your mom make anything traditionally Polish? are Polish foods and German foods similar?
    I think I'll make chicken pot pie soon so I can post it! mmmm, talk about filling -