Winter puts me in the mood for comfort food. Pasta is great, but protein paired with a sauce is even better. Enter, the ham ball. I am pretty sure that the ham ball is an Iowa phenomenon, but there is no reason it couldn’t transcend over the boarders! It is simple and delicious . . . you just have to get your hands a little dirty. The tricky part may be finding ham loaf in your local grocery store.
This ham ball recipe comes from my late Aunt Melanie. I was lucky enough to receive a copy of her family’s cookbook as a wedding gift, and this is one recipe I turn to again and again (the page has dirty fingerprints from over use, so you know it’s good!)
- 2 lbs ham loaf
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 2/3 cup of milk
- 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs, finely crushed
- 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar
- 2 cans tomato soup, undiluted
- 2 tsp. dry mustard
- 3/4 cup white vinegar
Mix meat, milk, egg, and graham cracker crumbs together well, and form into balls. Will make about 15 ham balls. Place in shallow baking dish. Mix ingredients for sauce, and pour over ham balls. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cover with tin foil if sauce begins to brown too much.
Here are some additional notes from my aunt Melanie (which is the fun part of family cook books).
Often I double or quadruple this recipe and freeze the ham balls in smaller portions in freezer bags. They freeze nicely, and they do not need to thaw before baking, but will require longer baking time. You may freeze sauce in small containers so it thaws faster.
Also, 2lb ham loaf = 1 lb ground ham + 2/3 lb ground lean pork + 1/3 lb ground beef
So next time you need to fill your stomach with yummy warm food on a long cold night, consider the ham ball!