The Best Gluten Free Cheese Ball

The Best Gluten Free Cheese Ball

The cheese ball: You will see them at every holiday party. You will eat them at every work pot luck. You can even stroll down to your local Barnes & Noble and read an entire book devoted to them (it might not have made the best seller list but with over 50 cheese ball recipes, Great Balls of Cheese could be quite the page turner). Whether you love them or you hate them, cheese balls are a holiday staple that will not be going anywhere anytime soon.

Cheese balls, believe it or not, have been around for centuries. The first cheese ball, according to Michelle Buffardi author of Great Balls of Cheese, was presented to Thomas Jefferson at the White House in 1801 by a farmer named Elisha Brown Junior.

This cheese ball weighed in at a whopping 1,235 pounds and was nicknamed the mammoth cheese (just in case you were wondering, yes I checked and no, The Guinness Book of World Records does not currently list a record for the largest cheese ball. If they did, Elisha and his enormous creation would have definitely been in it to win it).

Long story short, it seems just hearing about the Presidents’ 1,000 pound gift, must have been enough to turn American’s off of this classic party food and the cheese ball completely disappeared from the map for over one hundred years (don’t worry all my cheese ball lovers, this story does have a happy ending).

In 1944, Virginia Safford, who was a popular columnist at the time brought the cheeseball back from the dead when she added her version of this classic appetizer to her cookbook, Food of My Friends. Following its’ resurrection, the cheeseball basked in party food glory for over fifty years. In 2003 however, its’ popularity took a hit when popular food writer, Amanda Hesser gave it a bad rap in the New York Times associating the food with shag rugs and tinsel (I guess hipsters had not made their appearance in 2003 so all things retro were not the “cool” thing yet).

Thankfully for us, writer and comedian, Amy Sedaris, took a liking to this retro, middle class, party food and singlehandedly revived the cheeseball. She wrote a play about them, she included them in her books, and she even made them with Martha Stewart for the world to see bringing the cheese ball back into party food grace. The cheese ball, though it has had its’ ups and down’s has ultimately stood the test of time to solidify its’ place as an American classic.

Now that you are fully prepared to go on Jeopardy and answer any question Alex Trebek might throw at you about cheese ball history, let’s get to the real reason you are here, (although you will thank me if you ever do win big on a game show on account of a cheese ball question) the recipe.

This cheese ball is easy to make and it comes together in minutes. First in a small mixing bowl combine lemon juice, gluten free soy sauce, and a little bit of sugar. Stir these ingredients until they are well combined and the sugar is dissolved and then set it aside.

Next, if you are like me and forgot to set out your cream cheese ahead of time to soften, simply take two packages and kneed them with your hands for about 30 seconds each. Once the cream cheese is softened, place it in a large mixing bowl and set it aside.

Now, place seven ounces of gluten free ultra thin beef into your food processor and pulse it until it is finely minced. Pour the minced beef into the same mixing bowl as the cream cheese, add in the soy sauce mixture, and stir with a wooden spoon or hand mixer until the beef is dispersed evenly throughout the cream cheese.

Transfer this mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap, seal it tightly, and shape it into a ball. Place the cheese ball into the refrigerator and allow to chill for at least three hours (ideally overnight, but who is really that on the ball right). Once chilled remove the cheeseball from the plastic wrap, place it on a plate, surround it with delicious gluten free crackers, and enjoy!

Prep Time:  20 minutes          Total Time: 3 hours (with chill time)

Ingredients:

-2 (8 ounce) packages gluten free original cream cheese

-7 ounces gluten free ultra thin beef

-2 tablespoons dehydrated minced onions

-4 teaspoons gluten free soy sauce

-1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

-1/2 teaspoon sugar

Directions:

In a small mixing bowl combine the gluten free soy sauce, lemon juice, and sugar. Stir the ingredients until well combined and set aside. Using your hands, kneed the packages of cream cheese until softened (about 30 seconds) and set aside. Place the beef into a food processor and pulse until the beef is minced and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, soy sauce mixture, and minced beef. Stir the ingredients with a wooden spoon or hand mixer until the beef is spread evenly throughout. Wrap the cheese ball in plastic wrap, seal it tightly, and form into a ball shape. Place the cheese ball into the refrigerator for at least three hours (ideally overnight) before serving. Serve with gluten free crackers and enjoy!

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