In the Coal Region and in Pennsylvania Dutch country, it is not unusual to have left over ham from a family holiday dinner or event. It is also easy to find meaty ham ends in grocery stores and butcher shops meaning there is a supply of good quality ham at our fingertips.
Ham loaf is a PA thing – and is prolific in some areas across the state where you can find already mixed ground ham and pork for you to use. Many stores and shops even sell ready mixed ham loaf — just take home and bake!
This ham loaf is one of my favorite ways to use leftover ham. Ham loaf does require ground ham, but meat grinders are not a staple in every kitchen. I have a grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid stand mixer and love it.
For those without that indulgence in their arsenal, a food processor will do or hand grinder, but a food processor will be chopping the meat instead of grinding it, so the loaf may have a coarser texture than one made with ground ham. Some butcher shops stock ground ham, and others will grind some for you on request.
Leftover ham loaf makes a yummy sandwich (ham loaf on rye with yellow mustard comes to mind…) giving left over regular meatloaf a run for its money. The glaze for the ham loaf is the crowning glory. Some are just brown sugar based, but my favorite is one that includes pineapple which you will find in this recipe. Unbaked ham loaf freezes well. Glaze when it is time to bake. I like more ham than pork in my loaf, but equal parts works just as well.
Using the Correct Ham
For this recipe you want a fully cooked ham, NOT cured “country ham”.
Shape it up
This same mixture is great shaped into meatballs then topped with the glaze. They hold well in a slow-cooker for gatherings and potlucks. Simply roll into 1 1/2 inch balls, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake at 350F degrees for about 12 to 14 minutes. Add the glaze ingredients to a saucepan and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes to thicken glaze; add the cooked ham balls. I make double the pineapple glaze for this method of serving.
Pennsylvania Dutch Ham Loaf with Pineapple GlazeCourse: EntreeCuisine: Pa. Dutch, Coal RegionDifficulty: Intermediate
- Ham Loaf
1-1/2 pounds ground fully cooked ham
1 pound ground fresh pork
2 whole eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk (I like evaporated milk)
1 cup finely crushed saltines
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple in its own juice, undrained
- Make Sauce
- Stir all sauce ingredients together in small bowl, set aside.
- Ham Loaf
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs; add milk, crackers and pepper. Add the ham and pork; mix well.
- Shape into a 9 x 4-inch loaf and place in a shallow baking dish.
- Pour sauce over loaf.
- Bake at 350F degrees until instant read thermometer registers 170F, about 60 to 70 minutes, basting with the sauce frequently. Do not overcook.
- Let rest for 10 – 15 minutes, slice and serve.
- For this recipe you want a fully cooked ham, NOT cured “country ham”.
- The mixture can be rolled into 1 1/2 inch balls, placed on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and baked 12 to 14 minutes in a 350F degree oven. Add the glaze ingredients to a saucepan and gently simmer for 15 to 20 minutes to thicken glaze; add the cooked ham balls. I make double the pineapple glaze for this method of serving..