Regina shares directions for making hog maw. Never heard of it? Read on.
Makin' Hog Maw
Shared by Regina Rosenberry
If you didn't grow up with good old Pennsylvania Dutch cooking, then the dish, Hog Maw, may not hold any significance to you. But other Pennsylvanian country bumpkins may share my memories of the excitement and anticipation when Ma would announce, “Hog Maw for supper!” At times this dish was a family treat served for special occasions, other times it was just a hearty meal for a cold winter night.
If you don't know what Hog Maw is and have a squeamish stomach, you may want to stop reading now! Otherwise, let me introduce you.
Hog Maw is the Pennsylvania Dutch cover name for... Pig Stomach! (Don't say I didn't warn you.) When the oldsters claimed on hog butchering day that everything would be used except the squeal, they weren't far from the truth. The pig's stomach was cleaned then stuffed with sausage, onion, potatoes, and maybe cabbage for a delightful meal.
Since the husband and I haven't tried our hands at butchering yet, I rely on our local butcher shop or grocery store to purchase my pig's stomach. I find it for sale where sausage and other pork meat is sold. It will be labeled as either Pig Stomach or Hog Maw, and is cleaned and ready to stuff. As you can see, since I'm feeding a family of 7, I needed an extra large Hog Maw!
To stuff a regular sized pig stomach, you will need:
1 lb. loose country style sausage
1 large onion chopped
5 or 6 large potatoes peeled and diced
sliced cabbage if you desire (Growing up, mom made it at times with cabbage but not all of us children liked it. I have learned to enjoy it both ways)
I'm sure there are other variations of recipes, but this is the one of my childhood and the traditional recipe I am passing on to my own family.
A note: Some folks just bake sausage, onions, and potatoes together without stuffing the mixture in the pig stomach. This is good, but will not taste the same. The pig stomach bakes a certain flavor along with a little broth into the mixture you just can't get any other way.
Keep in mind this is one of those recipes where the ingredients are approximate and you may use a little more or a little less or none at all! Amounts will vary according to the size of the pig's stomach and your tastes. For example, my mother always used lots of sausage whereas my husband's mother used only a sprinkling of sausage and mostly potatoes.
Before stuffing, the pig stomach has two holes (don't think too hard on what the holes were for) that need to be closed so your stuffing doesn't come out.
My mother always used heavy thread and a needle and sewed the holes tight. I'm too lazy and took an easier route. I get a toothpick and thread the tooth pick in and out until the hole is closed.
Sew or close the smallest hole shut before stuffing. You will leave the largest one open until after the stomach is stuffed.
Now you are ready to fill the stomach. It doesn't matter in what order you put the ingredients. Just grab a handful of sausage and push down into the stomach, followed by a handful of onions, and potatoes with a sprinkling of course ground pepper, sea salt and garlic powder in between handfuls if you like.
Keep repeating, pressing the mixture together until the stomach is stuffed full!
Warning: Don't over-stuff the stomach or it may burst during baking. Leave a little growing room.
Grab a toothpick or your needle and close the opening until tight. If using tooth picks, it may take more than one.
Place your stuffed stomach into a 9x13 pan or roasting pan. Put around two inches of water on the bottom, and sprinkle the stomach with pepper and any seasonings if you like.
Note: You can also cook your filled pig stomach in a kettle on the stove top. Fill the kettle with water till the stomach is mostly covered. Put the lid on and bring to a boil. Turn the heat back and cook at a very gentle boil till the potatoes are tender, approximately 2 ½ to 3 hr.
Cover your pan, put into the oven and bake at 350 degrees. Plan around 2 ½ to 3 hours for baking. Again, this will depend on the size of your pig stomach and how full it is stuffed. Bake until the potatoes are very tender (jab the point of a knife through the stomach to check) and the stomach is lightly browned. As you can see, I didn't heed my own advice, got a little hogish and filled the pig stomach too full and it burst!
By now, the house will be filled with delightful aromas and the children will be at the table with their forks in their hands.
Carefully remove your toothpicks or pull out your thread so no one chokes. Using a large knife, slice your Hog maw (the skin may be a little tough) and enjoy every mouthful along with a squirt of ketchup if you like. And you must try some of the “skin!” My husband thinks the stomach is a delicacy and my sisters used to fight over this part, but I've never acquired a taste for it. One bite is enough for me.
And welcome - you are now a Pennsylvanian Country Folk!
Regina enjoys life with her husband and five children on a farmette. She takes pleasure in digging her fingers in the garden soil and tending her milk cow, chickens, and goats.