Since Christmas my brother Mike has been raving about the ham loaf dinner his fiancée’s mother made. I now know why, it’s pretty awesome. I can’t believe in my 30 years of eating I’ve never experienced this dish. Well, it’s not completely surprising since my mom had no idea what it was either. It was so delicious I ended up buying 4lbs of ham loaf mix (which is basically ground pork and ground ham) to bring back to Virginia. I’m still not sure if people down here know what it is, so I figured I’d stock up just in case. Last night was the first time I’d made it, just as awesome as the first time I’d eaten it.
Now in case you still aren’t sure where to get ham loaf mix you have two options, 1. ask your butcher or meat department to mix ground pork and ground ham for you or 2. grind your own. I’ve done some research on meat ratio and have found that it’s usually 1 1/2 lbs. of ground ham and 1 lb. of ground pork. We have a meat grinder attachment for our KitchenAid Mixer, so grinding our own might be kind of fun, you know, after we eat the 3 lbs. that are in the freezer. Just a reminder, because I was tempted at first thinking that ham loaf was just cooked ground ham, DON’T eat it before you cook it, there is ground pork in it that is raw. I’m probably the only person who would have thought to eat it but just in case I thought I’d say something.
1 lb. ham loaf
1/2 to 1 cup of crushed cracker crumbs (I used 18 Ritz)
1/2 cup of milk
pepper to taste (the ham is a bit salty anyway so I didn’t add any but if you love salt, add it, more power to ya)
*if you’re feeding a crowd you may want to adjust the amounts a bit.
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar (or regular vinegar, whatever you have)
1/2 tsp. ground mustard powder
2 Tbsp. water
In a large bowl, combine the egg; add milk, bread crumbs and pepper. Add ham loaf mix; mix well. In a shallow baking pan, shape meat mixture into a loaf. Insert a meat thermometer. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine glaze ingredients in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil (be sure not to let it boil over). Pour half over loaf. Bake 15 minutes longer or until the thermometer reads 170°, basting occasionally with glaze. If you want to brown up the glaze, which I did, turn on your broiler and let it broil for 5 minutes (you may need to adjust the oven rack), be sure to keep an eye on it, you don’t’ want it to burn. I also reserved some glaze and poured it over after serving it…yum!
Verdict: We served the ham with wild rice and asparagus. Eric pretty much ate most of it, not surprising. I’m glad we have 3 more pounds of this. It’s really a fast, easy and tasty week night meal. I’m also thinking that ham balls with the glaze might be a great party finger food.
Eric suggested last night that I post a meal that came out gross, just because he feels that people won’t believe that everything I cook is delicious. Sorry, I’m just that awesome I guess. But seriously, I had to remind him that I only blog about the good recipes, the one or two recipe fails I’ve had just don’t go on the blog…duh.