Maryland Stuffed Ham Stuffing Balls

1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cups cubed cabbage
3 cups cubed ham, lightly browned
1 bunch lacinato kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
18 oz sliced potato bread, torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cups turkey, ham or chicken stock
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons yellow mustard seed
freshly ground black pepper
kosher salt

In a large pan, saute onions in butter and olive oil over very low heat until the onions are translucent. Do not brown. Add the cabbage, kale and stock and cook until the vegetables have softened. Scrape into a large bowl and add the bread cubes and the spices. Combine with egg. Form medium-sized balls. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to overnight.

Place balls in the bottom of the roasting pan under the rack and around the turkey on the rack for the last 1/2 hour of roasting and cook until cooked through.

My thoughts:

This year I wanted to stay close at home for Thanksgiving so I went with a vaguely Maryland themed menu. I made an Old Bay-rubbed turkey and arranged these stuffing balls around it. In Southern Maryland the specialty is stuffed ham. A large ham is stuffed with kale, spices, cabbage and onion and then boiled (often in a flannel shirt or pillowcase!). It is tricky to find a stuffed ham all the way up here in Baltimore so I compromised and came up with this stuffed ham-inspired “stuffing”. I used smoked ham and the same ingredients I’d stuff a ham with and added slightly sweet potato bread. It was so good! A little different but not so wacky anyone would turn their nose up at it.

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