I shuffled through a file of recipes recently and discovered some amazing “old friends,” that had gone unnoted for years. One pink, 3″x5″ card caught my eye. It was from my sister-in-law. She was one of those cooks with a flare for recreating foods. She could taste, smell, and examine a dish and know pretty much what ingredients it contained.
Back in the 70s, she gave me a recipe for Mini Ham Loaves, that I’ve served both to the family and guests. It has an ingredient called Milnot. I can’t tell you how often I’ve bypassed the recipe just because I couldn’t find Milnot in the store. Then I discovered it was nothing more than evaporated milk, that had the butterfat replaced with oil. Recently I’ve seen similar recipes on line that call for whole milk, so I’ve updated my recipe. Forget the Milnot; milk works just fine.
Easy to Assemble
A Sweet Sour Sauce
Unlike similar recipes, this one has a sauce made of undiluted frozen orange juice, brown sugar, and vinegar that’s cooked with the small loaves. (Incidentally, you can also shape them into balls, but then you have to chase them around your plate. The loaves have flat bottoms.)
Because they freeze well and pair with most any vegetables, theses loaves (or balls, if you wish) make a quick family or company meal. The most difficult part of preparing this dish is finding a butcher to grind ham for you. They’ll only do it after they clean the beef from the meat grinders, which is apparently an end-of-the-day task. I finally had to leave an order with Straubs one day to pick it up the next.
Mini Ham Loaves
1 lb. fresh ground pork
2 lbs. ham, ground
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 to 3/4 cup whole milk or evaporated milk
1/2 tsp. fresh garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbs. parsley, finely chopped
1 (6-oz) can frozen orange juice concentrated, undiluted
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs. vinegar
Mix all ingredients and form into 24 loaves or balls. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Drain grease and pour on Orange Sauce and bake another 10 minutes. Freezes well.
For the Orange Sauce: Mix all ingredients together and pour over ham loaves during last 10 minutes of cooking.