February 15, 2010

An Iowa Delicacy

When I moved to this area of Iowa 22 years ago, I was introduced to a main dish that is served quite regularly at church dinners.  It is famous in our area of the state.  What is it called?  Ham Balls.  Yep.  Ham Balls.  Now before you start letting your mind run wild wondering if this is some portion of a pig's body that is clipped and cooked, I will let you in on the recipe.  Here it is for you to enjoy.

Ham Balls

Meat Mixture:

1 1/4 lbs. ground ham  (I buy a boneless ham and grind it in my food processor.)
1 lb. ground pork
1 lb. hamburger
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 eggs


1 can tomato soup
1 cup brown sugar
6 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard

Mix together the meat mixture and form into meat ball size.  Mix the sauce ingredients and pour over the ham balls and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

At our local grocery stores you can buy what is called "Ham Loaf Mixture" which is the ham, pork and beef mixture already mixed together and sold by the pound.

Yes, this is a big deal dish in our area of the state.  I have seen women take ham balls to church potlucks hoping that someone would rate their ham balls better than another woman's.  I know, just the words "ham balls" sounds kind of silly.

Both of my sons and my daughter in law and my husband love this dish. It is good, I must admit it.  So, if you want to try something new and different, give it a whirl.   

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