I tried.I really did. But Hamballs are just not paleo.
Hamball night is approaching and Hubby is so strict in his paleo diet that I decided I needed to start testing. I tried making them with almond flour. I tried leaving out the breadcrumbs. I even tried using gluten-free breadcrumbs to make them "kind of paleo." Finally, in a last effort to make them "less gluten-filled", I tried using half the amount of Saltines. None of it worked. None of them had the midwest magic of Grandma Grace's Hamballs. There just doesn't seem to be a way around the Saltines.
Now I am all for paleo and while I am not as strict as Hubby, I rarely stray too far from whole foods. But what I have learned over the past year of doing paleo experiments is that the best dishes are made by taking an the idea of something I love and creating something new and delicious instead of trying to replicate a non-paleo dish with paleo ingredients. As in the case of Hamballs, replicating is just not quite the same. And you can't go back once you've had Grandma Grace's Hamballs so nothing short of the real thing is acceptable.
So here is what I've decided. Each Hamball has about one Saltine cracker in it. My body can handle one Saltine with no adverse effects. I will make the Hamballs as they should be and those of us avoiding gluten can enjoy one spectacular Hamball and fill up the rest of our plates with salads and vegetables. I would rather have one delicious Hamball than a plateful of imitations. And that is how it will be.
“Everything in moderation, including moderation.” -Oscar Wilde
Grandma Grace’s Hamballs
1 lb of ground meat (1/3 ham and 2/3 ground chuck) 1 cup crushed Saltine crackers 1 egg, beaten small amount of milk (2 tsp) 1/4 to 1/2 cup of brown sugar (packed) 1/4 cup water 1/4 cup vinegar (may mix light and dark) (I use cider or wine vinegar) 1/4 tsp mustard (not dry) (I use Dijon)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the meat, crackers, egg and water together well. Roll into balls the size of a golf ball and place in a pan. 1 pound should make 10-15 balls. Mix together sugar, water, vinegar and mustard for basting sauce and pour over meatballs in pan. Bake for up to two hours, basting every twenty to thirty minutes until brown and caramelized.