Monday, September 22, 2014

Smoked Cheese Balls......

I love it when I have a real, true reason to play with cheese.  This time it is for another one of those fun, friendly little food challenges I participate in.  BALLS, that's the challenge this week, make a ball out of any food, slap a recipe on it and share.  Ok, I can do this!!!  Of course the very first and ONLY thing that comes to mind is cheese balls. Now what road do I want to take with these.  Besides loving cheese, I LOVE smoked cheese, so that's step one.  Now you can ask a dozen folks how to smoke cheese and you will invariably get a dozen answers, so all I can do is share the way we have been smoking cheese for years now.

We use a charcoal/wood smoker, so our cheese gets the real wood smoked flavor in a matter of minutes, literally.  Of course, if you don't have the means to smoke your own cheese just buy some at your local market.
For hard cheeses: When the smoker is about 200° we place the cheese on the rack, leave for about 4-5 minutes, flip it, leave on another 4-5 minutes then remove it and put in fridge till it hardens again.  For cream cheese we place it on parchment paper and leave on about 10 min. then remove and refrigerate.  It's just that simple and the cheese has the most awesome mild smoke flavor.  We normally use mesquite or hickory wood to smoke with.  Any smoked cheese is delicious though.

Ingredients you will need:
8 oz smoked or plain cream cheese
16 oz smoked sharp cheddar
3 slice bacon, cooked and crushed
2 tbsp. finely grated jalapeno
1 tbsp. finely grated onion
1 guajillo dried chile pepper, crushed
1 c fine jalapeno bread crumbs

I like to cook my bacon in the oven, no mess and it comes out perfect every time, thanks Rachael Ray for this tip!!!  Once bacon is done and cooled, pop into food processor and pulse until you have fine crumbs.  You will do the same with the dried guajillo pepper.

In a mixing bowl, add cream cheese, grated jalapeno (I use a microplane to grate my jalapeno on onion), grated onion, crushed guajillo and bacon.  Mix until well incorporated. Then add shredded cheese a little at a time until all is mixed together very well.  Remove and divide into four pcs.  Roll each into a ball.

I had some jalapeno cheese bread in the freezer, so I got it out, let it sit out in the air overnight, then broke it up and placed in food processor and made crumbs.  You can use plain bread crumbs, crushed walnuts or pecans.

After making my balls I rolled them in bread crumbs then gently patted more crumbs on to insure they adhered to the balls.  Then just refrigerate until ready to slice and serve. Place each in a small ziploc bag if you are not using within a few hours to keep them from drying out.

So next party or get together, make yourself and your guests some delicious cheese balls! Hope you enjoy, we sure did.

1 comment:

  1. Yum yum, I'm a cheese-aholic like you. I'm working on getting an indoor smoker one of these days and this will be the first thing I try! t's right up my alley!