Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ham Loaf

I was talking about ham loaf the other day at book club and some members had never had ham loaf so I thought I would share it.  In Iowa, our local grocery store (Fareways) meat counter sells ham loaf.  To anyone that has not had the pleasure of eating it, you can ask your butcher to make it for you or you can make it yourself.  It is ½ ground cooked ham and ½ ground pork.  It is a wonderful economic meat since beef prices have gone through the roof.  It can replace that traditional ham for brunch or dinner at a lower cost and is equally as good.

I wait until it is on sale and stock up the freezer.  I love to serve it with mac and cheese casserole.  They go perfect together.

Ham Loaf

2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup finely crushed saltines
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds of ham loaf (1 pounds ground cooked ham and 1 pound ground pork)

For gluten free and dairy free do not add the crackers or milk.  It stands well on it's own or you can substitute rice crackers and soy milk. 


1 cup packed brown sugar (I've also used good maple syrup)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 
1/3 cup vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained

In a large bowl, beat the eggs; add milk, crackers and pepper. Add the ham loaf; mix well. Shape into a 9-in. x 4-in. loaf and place in a shallow baking dish. In a small bowl, combine your sauce ingredients; pour over the loaf. Bake at 350 degrees F. until thermometer registers 170 degrees F., about 1 to 1 ½ hours, basting frequently.

Ham Balls

2 pounds of ham loaf (50% ham and 50% ground pork)
2 eggs
½ cup graham crackers
½ cup milk
(If you want to goose it up add a few pepper flakes for sweet and hot)

For gluten free and dairy free do not add the crackers or milk.  It stands well on it's own or you can substitute rice crackers and soy milk if you want to extend the recipe with filler.


2 (8 ounce) cans crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup packed brown sugar 
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard  
2 Tbs. cider vinegar
1 small pinch of ground gloves or pepper flakes for spice

Using your hands mix ham loaf, milk, crackers and eggs until well mixed.  Add pepper or pepper flakes for seasoning.  Make into 1 ½ inch balls (golf ball size).  Bake in 350 degree F. oven for 45 minutes turning once.

Make sauce in your blender.  Put baked balls in a crock pot or slow cooker and cover with sauce and let simmer so sauce will thicken a little.  Baste occasionally.  They are ready to serve once everything is warmed.  I leave them in the slow cooker to serve and keep warm.  Serve as an appetizer with skewers.  Great for a Sunday brunch.

Variation:  I am always changing this recipe.  I also like to use mandarin oranges in place of the pineapple and have added a few Marciano cherries for color and flavor.

True Hamburger

2 pounds ham loaf
Bib lettuce
Swiss cheese
Sweet onion
Buns (Something crusty or an onion roll goes nicely)

Make patties out of the ham loaf and put a thumb print in the middle to help cook eveningly.  Fry until they are completely done (170 degrees in middle).  Top with Swiss cheese to melt.  Make a true hamburger out of them.  I have always wondered how the hamburger got its name when it is not made out of ham.  This is my version of a real hamburger.

You can use either of the above recipes to make the patty, but I like to just use plain ham loaf and use the condiments to flavor the burger.  You can also grate a small onion, add an egg to bind it all together and put a pinch of pepper flakes in the loaf and spice up the burger.  I prefer to sauté my onion and put on top of the burger for the sweetness.


½ cup Mayonnaise
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 small pinch ginger
1 small pinch glove
¼ cup well drained and blended mandarin oranges  

In a blender blend your oranges after you have drained them very well.  Add your mayo, mustard and spices (you can heat up with a few pepper flakes if you like hot.  Do not add too many because it will overwhelm the flavor of the hamloaf).

Sauté onions until sweet and golden brown.  Grill a crusty bun.  You can also turn these into sliders and make them small using a small slider bun.


Put mayo on both sides of the grilled bun.  Put the cheese topped patty on the bun and cover with the sautéed onions and slices of avocado. Top with a piece of bib lettuce and put on top of bun.  This is a true hamburger.  Play with it and add the flavors you think go well with ham.

Tomorrow I'll talk about cheap and unique cuts of meat.  My Granddad was a butcher so we ate lots of poor man cuts of meat.  I'll talk about my favorites which is chicken livers and gizzards and sweetbreads.

Be happy and may God bless you and yours.  

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