• Tommy Centola

Try using cracklins in kitchen

I currently have over 800 recipes on my website, with two new ones added every week. I don’t claim that they are all mine. I use a couple of sources to continue posting different recipes. One day, I was looking through an old magazine and I came across an article on cracklins. I was very intrigued. I ran to the store to try them out.

Cracklins and Pork Skins, or Rinds, are not the same thing. Pork skins are layers of skin that are fried. A Cracklin, or Gratton in New Orleans, is the skin with the layer of fat underneath it. Occasionally, you can actually find a small piece of pork on a cracklin. They are like Pork Skins as they are often seasoned using different flavored seasonings. For these recipes, I would use plain cracklins. My recipes today are found during meals at different parts of the day: Cracklins Omelet, at breakfast or brunch, Cracklins Cornbread, for lunch or dinner, and Cracklin Molasses Cake, for dessert.

Here is an interesting way to start your morning. The addition of the cracklins adds another texture to the omelet. Crumbled bacon or diced ham makes a great addition to this omelet. This dish is great for a carbohydrate free diet.

Cracklin Omelet

Butter

1/2 cup Onions, minced

1/4 cup Green Onions, finely chopped, green part only

3 Eggs

2 tablespoons Milk

Creole Seasoning to taste

1/3 cup Cracklins

Over medium heat, sauté the onions in butter for a minute or so in a small skillet. Then add the green onions and cook a minute more. Whisk the eggs and milk in a small bowl and season to taste. Add a bit more butter to the pan. When butter has melted, add the egg mixture. Turn to low and sprinkle on the cracklings. Cover and cook until eggs are set.

Whenever I make beans for my wife, she always insist on having cornbread with it. Usually, that is the only time I eat it. With this recipe, I find myself wanting it more often. The key is the bacon drippings, which adds a smokey flavor to the dish. Every time I cook bacon, I save the rendered fat to be used in other dishes for flavoring.

Cracklin Cornbread

1/4 cup Bacon Drippings

1 cup Flour

1 cup Cornmeal

2 tablespoons Sugar

1 tablespoon Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 teaspoon Salt

1 cup Cracklins

1 cup Buttermilk

1 Egg, slightly beaten

Heat oven to 450℉.

Place the bacon drippings in a 9-inch cast iron skillet and then place the skillet in the oven. Combine the flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cracklins in a bowl and stir to mix. Add the buttermilk and egg, stirring until just mixed. Take the skillet from the oven, swirl the drippings carefully around the sides and pour it into the cornbread mixture. Stir until mixed and pour the mixture back into the skillet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.

I like the idea of using cracklins in a cake. They help to cut the sweetness of the molasses. In my opinion, there is no need of icing on this cake. If you want a topping, I would make a glaze of powdered sugar and a touch of milk to pour on top.

Cracklin Molasses Cake

1 cup Buttermilk

2 Eggs

1/4 cup Molasses

1 1/2 cup Brown Sugar

1 1/2 cups Flour

1 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground Cloves

2/3 cup Cracklin Crumbs ( place in plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin)

1/4 cup Raisins

2 1/4 cups chopped Pecans

Preheat oven to 300 ℉.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the buttermilk, eggs, molasses and brown sugar until blended. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves, then add to the liquid mixture. Blend until smooth. Fold in the cracklin crumbs, raisins and pecans. Pour the batter into a greased cake pan and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Feel free to use different flavors when making these recipes. Just remember, you can’t use cracklins and pork skins interchangeably. You need to have the stronger structure of the cracklins to get the desired results.

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