A round of rich, cream cheese base with savory, oniony seasonings and rolled in dried beef, the classic Cheese Ball is the perfect party and holiday appetizer. Serve with lots of a crackers, and step back!
I am a huge fan of appetizers. So much so that the Christmas “dinner” I host every year is almost all appetizers. Might sound weird to folks used to formal dinners, but I assure you, it’s not.
People love appetizers, and when you don’t have the right house for winter entertaining — a sit down dinner for my xmas posse is out of the question — it’s the only solution for crowd control.
I’m always on the lookout for the tastiest dips and salsas and spreads. But somehow, over the years, I lost track of one of my very favorite cracker spreads: the cheese ball. It had been introduced by an ex-sister-in-law, and was much beloved by our family, but when she exited our lives, the memory (even though a good one) went with it.
And then, years and years and years (decades) later, someone had a birthday at work, in one of those departments that celebrates the living bejeezus out of every event, adorning the counter tops of the little office kitchenette with all sorts of edibles.
And soon word spreads, and rumbling tummies from every floor descend. You know what I’m sayin’ about office eats.
Anyway, I walked up to this stacked counter, and what did I spy? A cheese ball with dried beef. OMG!
Peering closely, it looks like I remember it: cream cheese visible like grout through tiles of dried beef. A dreamy, savory mosaic. Salty beef with a hint of onion in a rich, creamy base. Dare I taste it? Would it live up to what is surely an exaggerated memory?
Oh, you bet. That was it!
The prettiest thing, it’s not. But once your crowd gets their mitts into it, it’ll be the first appetizer to go. It always is. Just make sure you have enough crackers on hand!
Cheese Ball with Dried Beef
- 8 ounces package cream cheese, softened
- 3 ounces dried beef, rinsed, patted dry and chopped or snipped into small squares (set a aside a heaping tablespoon or so for coating)
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, dried beef, green onions, onion powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Form the mixture into a ball and roll in the reserved dried beef to coat.
- Gently wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for several hours before serving. It's even better the next day, so it's make-ahead wonderful!