Every family has one: an heirloom recipe so grandfathered into the collective family psyche that its absence from the holiday spread has the power to incite a full-blown mutiny. For my family, one sure-fire example of such a rebellion-inspiring treat is my Blue Cheese Ball.
I can hear your clucking noises now. How could she possibly be singing the praises of that retro hangover from 50’s cocktail parties? She, who is known by many, if not all who know her as a consummate food snob (well, maybe not that bad, but at least as one demanding — I like to call it discerning – chick regarding all things food). Yep, the one and the same. And I have but two things to say in my defense: 1) all cheese balls are not created equal. And 2) cheese balls have been given a bad name by some pretty bad cooks. This is NOT one of those bland little blobs of white thrown together from flavorless ingredients that you find languishing like some forlorn wallflower in your grocery cheese case during the holiday season. Trust me. Give this a try over the coming holiday season, and I think you and your guests are in for a surprise.
BLUE CHEESE BALL
A 1970’s McCall’s Magazine
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
½ cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
4 three-ounce packages cream cheese
6 ounces processed cheddar cheese (I use Wispride™, which you can find in 8-ounce plastic containers in the dairy case of most large grocery stores)
6 ounces blue cheese
2 tsp. grated onion
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Hand-chop the pecans and parsley, and set aside in a bowl. They really must be chopped by hand; the food processor grinds them too much and the consistency isn’t right. Mix them together in a small bowl.
Blend all the cheeses in the food processor (or by hand if you are food processor deprived), until smooth and very well mixed. Transfer to a bowl. By hand, add the onion and Worcestershire sauce, and half the pecan/parsley mixture. Mix well. Roll into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 24 hours. Just before serving, roll the cheese ball in the rest of the pecan/parsley mixture. Serve with crackers. My favorites here are Triscuits™ and Stoned Wheat Thins™, because their flavors are a perfect match for the cheese ball, and because they hold up really well to the rigors of spreading.