Meat Pork

Spicy-Sweet Ham Loaf

The spices really make this meatloaf—don’t skip them.

I have lots of recipes handwritten on slips of paper. Today, I would just be bookmarking them on a device. I remember where some of them came from, but not all. I used to watch the cooking shows on the local PBS station, most memorably, Nathalie Dupree’s New Southern Cooking, Marcia Adams’ Amish Cooking from Quilt Country and Heartland Cooking, and Julia Child’s The French Chef, Cooking with Master Chefs and bits and pieces of most of her other series when available. This was long before the 24/7 availability of cooking channels but most of them were available when there were VCRs. I used to tape the shows as I watched them, so I could go back and write down recipes, stopping the tape to let my writing catch up. I suppose some other recipes could have been copied from the so-called women’s magazines. What can I say? I have a long interest in home cooking. It’s too bad more people have not learned how to cook and are left to rely on pre-packaged food or eating in fast food restaurants all the time. Cooking from scratch can be much more economical.

I’m not sure where this great recipe came from. It sounds like something Marcia Adams would have created, but it’s definitely not her upside down ham loaf that is all over the web. I generally did not elaborate on instructions, which mostly works out, but sometimes it leaves me scratching my head and improvising.

recipe

I only made one  addition and one change to the recipe. The only ground pork I could find was reduced fat—fat is the whole reason you use pork!—so I added 1 tablespoon of bacon fat that I had waiting in the fridge for just such an occasion. The other change had to do with that oddly inserted line, 2 T lemon. Lemon what? Juice? Zest? Both seem like odd additions, and the line looks like it was squeezed in. Well, I didn’t have any lemons, but I have a jar of dried Valencia orange peel, so I added 1/2 teaspoon of that. I don’t know if it made a difference, but it didn’t hurt.

Spicy-Sweet Ham Loaf

  • Servings: about 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Preheat oven to 375°

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb ground cooked ham
  • 2 cups bread crumbs (I used soft crumbs from fresh whole wheat bread)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried orange peel or fresh citrus zest from one orange or lemon (adjusted from mystery ingredient in original recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon bacon fat or lard if your meats are too lean
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (not in original recipe)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper (not in original recipe)

Preparation

Mix all ingredients and shape into loaf in large baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for about one hour or until center registers about 160°. Baste with sauce (below) for the last half hour. Remove from oven to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Basting Sauce

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vinegar (I used rice vinegar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Bring all to boil in small saucepan. It is  not a thick glaze, but it does glaze the loaf with frequent basting, plus some of it soaks in at the bottom. Pour over enough to cover the loaf after the first half hour of baking, then baste the loaf every 10 minutes thereafter, using up the rest of the mixture. You might go over the baking time with opening the door so often. This sauce makes a splattered mess of your baking dish, but it washes right off in the dishwasher.

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