I’ve been baking a lot of cookies recently. After all, ’tis the season! So when I was browsing through one of my favorite recipe books, MS Codex 1038, I was looking for something savory rather than sweet. I stopped at “Ham Loaves.” Ham loaves? Would this be some kind of ham meatloaf, perhaps? Maybe a ham pate? I was wrong: these are little sandwiches filled with chopped ham and hard-boiled eggs, held together with butter, and very tasty indeed. At the top right of the page is written what looks (to me) like “Mrs. Pirdham.” (So we might think of these as PirdHAM Loaves! No? Too much? Moving on.)
It’s been a few years since my family had a Christmas ham, after my mom discovered this great Martha Stewart recipe for Leek-Crusted Beef Tenderloin. But this year, we’re bringing back the ham on Christmas Eve, and I know what I’ll be doing with the leftovers! These Loaves were even better than I thought they’d be–sort of an 18th-century breakfast sandwich. Scooping out the inside of the roll creates a tidy pocket for the mixture, which I think would also be great inside cheese puffs for a crowd. I could also see myself adding some grated aged Cheddar to the mixture just before assembling the sandwiches. Whatever you like with ham and eggs would work well here!
I hope that this recipe gives you an idea for using up your ham leftovers, if you have them; if you don’t, it’s easy to do what I did here and get a few slices from the deli counter (in my case, four slices of Virginia baked ham, about 1/8″ thick each). I made a batch of Mary Berry’s Crown Loaf (from her Baking Bible) and used the rolls straight from the oven, but store-bought dinner rolls would work perfectly too, and perhaps be a little closer to the harder rolls I imagine the original recipe would have used.
Thanks to Mrs. Pirdham and her Ham Loaves for a kitchen that smelled like ham and fresh bread on a rainy day.
Take the Yolks of three Eggs boiled hard,
and barely the white of One and chop them
very fine. Take about two thirds more of
lean Ham than Eggs, which must also be
chopped very fine, and then mixed [well] with [the]
Egg & made hot together with Butter enough
to make it of a proper thickness. Then fill
halfpenny french Rolls with it either fried
or Crisped in an Oven after [the] Crumb is taken
out. Butter [the] outside, & either put them in a
[tin?] Oven before [the] Fire, or any other that will
not make them too hard.
3 hard-boiled eggs: 3 yolks + 1 white
6 oz. ham, sliced
2+ tbsp. butter (This amount leaves the mixture crumbly; more would bind it better.)
Rolls of your choice (~4, depending on their size)
Halve the rolls and scoop out some of the inside, then lightly toast them. (And snack on the insides!)
Chop the 3 yolks and 1 white, then dice/chop the ham finely. In a medium frying pan, melt the butter and then add the chopped eggs and ham, cooking for a few minutes until the mixture is warmed through.
Spoon ham-egg mixture into the toasted rolls (I liked a grind of pepper on top, too), and either eat as is or spread a little butter on top of the rolls and pop them back in the toaster oven to warm them.
Makes filling for ~4 medium rolls.
Success! I regularly make ham and fried egg breakfast sandwiches on English muffins for a weekend treat, and I love ham in an omelette, so this combo just works for me. It’s quick to make and an easy use for leftovers; plus, it could be doctored up in any number of ways.
However you’re celebrating the holidays, may your days be merry and your meals be delicious.