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Ham Loaf

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Ham loaf is one of those things you'll occasionally find on the menu in a restaurant in Pennsylvania that people who have not been exposed to Pennsylvania Dutch culture will skip over en route to a hamburger.

Big mistake.

Ham loaf is a wonderful pork-based culinary experience not to be missed. It is served in schools, restaurants and at dinner meetings. It is such a phenomena that some butcher shops even make their own brand of frozen ham loaf that simply requires a bit of reheating.

Of course, it's best when prepared at home using fresh ingredients purchased at the local butcher's shop.

Serving suggestions vary. Some folks will serve it with mashed potatoes and gravy with some type of green vegetable. Others will serve it with baked macaroni and cheese and a veggie. Either way, you can't go wrong.

The following recipe is the traditional way this Researcher's family prepares ham loaf. Many preparations do without the sticky, sweet caramel-like glaze, but it is included here since an essential part of Pennsylvania Dutch cooking involves the combination of salty and sweet flavours into one dish.


The Recipe

Combine the following ingredients well and shape into a loaf, placing it in a roasting pan with a lid.

  • 3/4 pounds ground/minced pork
  • 3/4 pounds ground/minced ham
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of fine moist bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste

When the loaf is in the pan, mix the following in a bowl and pour over the top of the ham loaf.

  • 1 cup of packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of vinegar

Cover the baking pan and cook at 350°F (180°C) for 1 hour and 15 minutes, basting the ham loaf with the liquid every 15 minutes.

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