Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Nothing says Midwest like a ham ball

Ham ball is a food. Like meatballs, but made of ham, well, much of it is ham.

I found that the ham balls are not ubiquitous to the midwest, but perhaps to Iowa, but maybe not to Iowa, because I have a friend who grew up in Iowa, but does not remember ever having them. I always assumed they were midwestern or Iowan. They aren't particularly German. They are often found in those older church cookbooks and among older church people. I'm not sure where they came from, maybe just western Iowa. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it. If you've ever had these, let me know and let me know where you grew up, or your grandma grew up, or whatever. I am very curious about their origin.

Mr. Wild LOVES them. He would eat them every day, I think. Problem is, we have to buy ham and serve that up first. Then, we are meat grinder challenged and have to grind the leftover ham in a blender. Amazingly, it does work, challengin,g but it does. Nobody sells ground ham around here. It also requires hamburger and ground pork. I would rather make scalloped ham and potatoes in the Crockpot.

Then there's the great sauce debate. His mother uses canned tomato soup, vinegar and other stuff, my grandmother has ketchup plus vinegar, sugar and some other stuff. The key here is tomatoes, sugar and vinegar. Mostly we do the 50s version his mom's version. Here's the recipe in case you're wondering. We cut it in half, because it makes way too many ham balls otherwise. And, no, this is not a frugal recipe.

2 1/2 lbs ground ham
2 lb lean ground pork
1 lb ground beef

mix with 3 eggs (use 2 if you cut the recipe in half)
2 c. milk
3 cups crushed graham crackers (I think I only use one cup in the halved recipe)

mix like you're making meatloaf (which you can then do and call it ham loaf if you so desire). Then shape them into balls about the size of clementines. They should be bigger than meatballs, but not as big as baseballs.

Put in a casserole dish and then cover with:
3/4 c. white vinegar
1 can tomato soup
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. dry mustard

You will need all of this for the halved recipe, actually.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Goes well with carrots, sweet potatoes, or corn. Succotash even, if you like that sort of thing. I do, but Mr. Wild doesn't like lima beans. I miss eating lima beans.


Aliceson said...

I have never heard of these before. I am a midwestern girl born and raised; originally from North Dakota, now a resident of WI.

Maybe it's my fear of church basements that has kept me from discovering this dish. My husband would love this I'm sure!

Sarah's Blogtastic Adventures said...

Never heard of them I am from Illinois! This is my second food post and now I am offically starving!! : )