We’ve all enjoyed the ultimate comfort breakfast of cream chipped beef over toast or biscuits. Who doesn’t love that? My stepson, Nick, tells me that his grandmother makes the best he has ever eaten, hands-down. I might just have to pay this lady a visit in 2014, begging for a taste. I’ve certainly made it often over the years, and I can’t say that mine is particularly extraordinary since I just use a standard recipe of flour, cream, black pepper, and a glass jar of dried beef. I like to serve it as a makeshift Eggs Benedict, pouring it over an egg and cheese English muffin.
At any rate, I am fond of using dried beef in other recipes too. For example, it’s delightful with smoked Gouda cheese, stuffed inside chicken breasts, to offer a twist to Chicken Cordon Bleu. Another fun way to serve dried beef is in a cheeseball—a deliciously salty appetizer with crackers and beer, and an excellent idea for the upcoming Super Bowl. My good friend, Lori, shared her family recipe for a variation of this cheeseball, and I liked it so much that I used it as a base to tweak the perfect combination of cheeses and flavors for my own version. Here’s my end result, and I think you’ll agree that these ingredients— in the amounts listed—are the perfect marriage of flavors. If you don’t like my version, try your own additions and make your own changes to see what you prefer. It’s really difficult to ruin a cheeseball by changing ingredients, as long as the amounts of each flavor are balanced. Have fun with this one!
You can find dried beef in the supermarket, usually near the canned meats and fish. In every grocery store I’ve visited, it is always on the very top shelf, so maybe we customers need to find more uses for it.
2- 8oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1- 5 oz. jar dried beef, chopped coarsely in food processor (I use Hormel)
½ small Vidalia onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. hot sauce
1- 8oz. bag shredded Pepper Jack cheese (or 2 cups shredded from block cheese)
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder
Combine all ingredients by hand or in a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment. Roll into ball and refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove from fridge and roll in ONE of the following mixtures: 1. chopped pecans and paprika, OR 2. chopped dried beef pieces and paprika, OR 3. dried chives and paprika. (I use the chives and paprika.) Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2+ hours until ready to serve. Serve with crackers.