Ham Loaf with a Cheese Crust

In which I praise home economists.

Picture this.  You are cleaning up from your Sunday dinner.  Your family has devoured the Skillet Potatoes Au Gratin.  They have eaten all of the Cooked Cranberry Salad.  Their bellies are now full of Mama’s Apple Pecan Pie.  The Bread and Butter Pickles are back in the fridge, but what are you going to do with all that leftover ham?

With everyone already planning for Thanksgiving (and the holiday that comes after that that I don’t want to mention because it’s just too soon), now is a good time to start working on menu planning and leftover planning.  So let’s sharpen up our home economist skills and put those leftovers to work for you.

I know, I know.  There are ham sandwiches that can be made, both hot and cold.  Everyone has been yammering for scalloped potatoes.  (Not at my house, but my mom did make some especially for a classmate of mine once in high school.  She is amazing about things like that).  The bone can be used for bean soup or thrown into greens or made into red beans and rice (my kids’ favorite option).  At some point, however, you always end up with these little pieces that no one wants to eat because they are the wrong shape or size, they are too thick or thin.  They languish there in your fridge and cry out to you when you open the door.  You know that you should do something with them, but you aren’t sure of what.   I have (or rather my great-grandma and other brilliant home economists have) a solution for you.  Ham loaf in a cheese crust.DSCN2926Just say those words aloud.  It’s ok to alternately smile and gag.  It’s not something we are used to seeing in our menu rotation.  There are reasons for why this recipe has fallen out of fashion.  My kids would argue that taste was one of those reasons, but I think they were having an exceptionally picky day. Side note:  I mentioned to Nick what I was writing about and he said “Oh, right, that weird stuff.”

When I looked at the title of the recipe, the images of what this recipe would be was something more like a meatloaf with a thick coating of cheese and breadcrumbs surrounding it, so that every slice looked like a drawing of rock layers from elementary school science class.  As I read through the recipe I realized how wrong I had it.  This was going to be a pie.  A pink pie with an orange crust.  A study in contrasting colors and textures.   I’m never sure about the texture of ground ham.DSCN2931When this recipe was originally published, there were not the variety of cheese cracker options that are available today.  I’m not sure if this qualifies as progress.  I stuck with Cheez-Its original flavor.  Getting out the blender or food processor seemed like dishes I didn’t feel like doing so crushed the crackers with a combination of the potato masher and my hands. It makes lovely pictures, but a crumbly crust.

All in all, this was not a bad recipe.  A little on the salty side, but it’s ham and cheese crackers, so you’d expect as much.

Ham Loaf in Cheese Crust

2 thoughts on “Ham Loaf with a Cheese Crust”

  1. Ham loaf and ham balls in all their variations were very popular in ‘50s Iowa. Now imagine any of those recipes made using, dare I say it, canned, precooked, pork shoulder otherwise known as SPAM. Not at our house for sure but many homes used this ‘meat product’. In all fairness usually ham loaf and ham balls were made from those huge hams that were served at Christmas and Easter. My mother was more fond of ham salad but one of my aunts was famous, at least in the family, for her ham balls.

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