Port Wine Cheddar Ball

Ingredients – Cheese Ball

  • 8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese at room temperature
  • 3 ounces plus 1 tablespoon cream cheese, divided 
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Generous tablespoon port wine reduction, divided use

Ingredients – Pecan Coating

  • 1 1/2 cups pecans 
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • pinch of salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot smoked paprika

Directions – Cheese Ball

  1. Cut the cheddar and 3 ounces of the cream cheese into about 1″ chunks and place in the bowl of your food processor. Begin by pulsing to get the cheese chopped up in little bits before just letting it run.
  2. Mix 1 teaspoon of the port wine reduction and the salt into the half and half.
  3. Slowly pour the dairy mixture in through the feed tube.
  4. Process until the cheese mixture is very, very smooth, about 2 minutes or so.
  5. Clean off the blade of the food processor and eyeball the cheese mixture to divide it into thirds. Place 2/3 of the mixture in one bowl and leave the remaining third in the food processor.
  6. To that 1/3 in the processor, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of port wine reduction and the remaining 1 tablespoon of cream cheese. Process until smooth, scraping the sides of the container and processing some more until the mixture is a uniform purple color.
  7. Get a piece of plastic wrap largeenough to hold all the cheese mixture (it makes about 2 cups) layer the orange cheese and the purple cheese together in about 1/2″ layers: orange-purple-orange-purple-orange.
    Shape into a ball and refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours.

Directions – Pecan Coating

  1. Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the pecans, the salt and the hot smoked paprika and stir well with a spatula to coat all the nuts in the butter mixture.
  2. Cook, stirring frequently, until the nuts are nicely browned, the butter is sort of foamy and the whole thing smells great, about 5 minutes or so.
  3. Let the nuts cool spread out on several thicknesses of paper towels.
  4. Once the nuts are cool, chop them fairly finely and set aside.

Directions – Assembling The Cheese Ball

1.Remove plastic from cheese and smooth cheese into a ball. Put pecans on plate and roll cheese ball until it is covered.