HEAVENLY HAM BALLS
Hometown Recipes for the Holidays, American Profile
"This is my own recipe, which has become a family favorite for any occasion. It can be made ahead of time and frozen, or made into a loaf and served with the glaze."
Pearl Anna Bertsch, Ypsilanti, South Dakota
• 1½ pounds cubed ham
• 1 pound ground pork
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup saltine cracker crumbs
• 1 cup finely chopped onions, optional
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup vegetable oil
• 1¼ cups packed dark brown sugar
• 3/4 cup orange juice
• 1/4 cup rice vinegar
• 1/4 cup prepared mustard
• 1 tablespoon dry mustard
• Cilantro leaves, optional
• Orange slices, optional
1. To prepare the ham balls, place the ham in a food processor container and pulse to a coarse texture. Combine the ham, pork, eggs, cracker crumbs, and onions, if using, in a large bowl; mix well.
2. Form into 60 balls about the size of a walnut. The mixture will be very sticky and soft.
3. Pour the flour into a shallow pan and coat the meatballs with the flour. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours to overnight.
4. To prepare the glaze, combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
5. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 20 ham balls and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Repeat twice with the remaining ham balls.
6. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange the browned ham balls in a 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish. Pour the glaze mixture evenly over the ham balls and bake, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours, or until richly glazed, turning every 30 minutes. Garnish with cilantro leaves and orange slices, if desired.
Tip: For easy handling, use a fork and spoon when turning the ham balls.