Baby, do I love ham! But let’s say that you cooked a ham for a special occasion and had A LOT of it left over. Ham is great (pro tip: it also freezes really well), but if your ham leftover contingency arsenal consists solely of ham sandwiches… you’re going to become incredibly tired of ham sandwiches. One delicious option that it seems hardly anyone knows about for ham is making it into a meatball! You can use basically any old meatball recipe that you like and just substitute ham for part or all of the ground meat. The sauce recipes are also just guidelines, so add or subtract things as your taste dictates. What follows here is a basic ham meatball recipe that can be served in any style that you deem solid. I’ve given you the recipes for a Swedish gravy or a sweet n sour sauce , but I am positive that these meatballs would also land favorably in a soup, skewered up with peppers on the grill, in a stir fry or as a topping on a pizza. As with any meatball, I recommend making a whole bunch of them at once if you have the ingredients and freezing the excess balls raw, which will make for quick and easy meals in the future.
For the meatballs:
½ lb ground beef (or any ground meat)
½ lb Northern Waters Smokehaus Berkshire ham, ground up in a food processor or meat grinder
1 large egg
1 slice of white bread, crust removed
¼ C milk
½ cup onion, minced
4 T olive oil or any neutral oil ( I recommend using 4 T butter for the Swedish version)
Place the milk and the slice of bread in a small saucepan. Bring the milk to a gentle simmer until it is absorbed by the slice of bread (a couple of minutes). Using a fork, shred up the bread and milk, then place it in a mixing bowl. Add the onion and the egg to the bread, mixing it into a loose paste. Add the ground meat and ground ham last, mixing it by hand until just combined (try to gently incorporate all ingredients until they are just holding together enough to form your meatballs). The meatballs can be as large or as small as you would like. Once the meatballs are formed, bring a large skillet to medium heat with the oil or butter in it, and brown your meatballs on all sides. At this point, you can continue cooking them until they are cooked through, or finish them in whatever sauce you are serving them in. Either way, once the meatballs are ready to come out of the pan, drain them first on a paper towel, paper bag, or on a rack. Do not completely clean out your pan- you may need it to make your sauce in! Makes 4-6 main course servings.
For sweet and sour sauce:
1 ½ C water
¼ C distilled white vinegar
¼ cup ketchup
3 T cornstarch (you can substitute all purpose flour)
3 T soy sauce
(Optional) diced pineapple, peppers
Scallions to garnish
Whisk the water, vinegar, ketchup, cornstarch, soy sauce and optional vegetables together and add to a large sauce pan (you can do this in the same pan you cooked your meatballs in but be sure to drain off any excess oil). Bring the sauce to a simmer for 3 minutes or so. Add meatballs to the sauce and simmer until cooked through.
Serve as a stand-alone appetizer, over rice, or lo mein noodles. Garnish with chopped scallions or chives.
For Swedish gravy:
4 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
2 cups beef broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ t nutmeg
½ t garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
chopped parsley to garnish (optional)
In the pan you cooked your meatballs in, add 4 T of butter and bring to a medium heat until foamy. Try to use the butter heating time to scrape the browned bits off of the bottom of the pan with a spatula or fork. Slowly incorporate flour, whisking until it turns a light brown color. Slowly whisk in broth and heavy cream. Whisk in Worchestershire, Dijon mustard, nutmeg and garlic powder. Bring to a simmer until sauce starts to thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add your meatballs and heat until cooked through. Serve over mashed potatoes or egg noodles and garnish with chopped parsley.