You Can Take The Girl Out of Georgia…

But I’m still gonna make a cheese ball ya’ll!

A girlfriend texted me on Monday asking for ideas for an easy, no fuss holiday appetizer, prompting me to look through my old, tattered recipe box of hidden gems.  And there it was, tried and true, the Savannah cheese ball recipe.

I’m conflicted about even sharing this recipe, but in the spirit of Thanksgiving and gratitude, I feel compelled to make your holidays a little brighter, a little easier, and a little less stressful.  I don’t think Mrs. Ferrara would approve of my posting her generation old Savannah cheese ball recipe, considering it took literally 10 years of begging her daughter, Rachael, my old college girlfriend, to finally share it with me.  With much persistence, however, it eventually arrived via US mail on a personalized recipe card, in impeccable, careful handwriting.  And I don’t even think she left any ingredients out (an alleged signature move in the deep south to ensure no one else’s turns out as good as yours).

So let’s do this:

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You probably have all the ingredients already, but remember, it needs to refrigerate for at least a few hours so you can’t be too last minute.

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Very finely chop a small Vidalia (or sweet) onion.

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Mix with 1 lb. (or two, 8 oz. bags) of sharp cheddar cheese, 1 cup of chopped pecans (Trade Joe’s has a great bag of pre-chopped pecans, with small pieces), 1 cup mayo (don’t add all at once- you may not use it all), pepper to taste, and a dash or two of cayenne pepper.

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Mix well, adding mayo as necessary until cheese, pecans, and onion are lightly coated.

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Put out a piece of cling wrap and form mixture into a ball.

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Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours, but ideally overnight.


When you’re ready to serve it, mold it into a ring and fill the center with strawberry preserves.  Serve with apple slices, grapes, seasonal crackers, and garnish with rosemary sprigs.

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FYI, these Trader Joe’s pumpkin crackers are the bomb squad for the holidays! 

Mrs. Ferrara’s Savannah Cheese Ball:

1 lb. sharp grated cheddar

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup scant mayo

1 small Vidalia or sweet onion, very finely chopped

Pepper to taste

Dash cayenne

Strawberry preserves

Grate cheese and chop onion very finely.  Mix all ingredients except the preserves.  Don’t add the full cup of mayo at once.  You may not need all of it.  Put on a piece of cling wrap and mold into a ball.  Place in fridge for at least a few hours, but ideally overnight.  Mold into a ring and fill center with preserves.  Serve with crackers, grapes, sliced apples, and garnish with rosemary sprigs.

You can halve the recipe for smaller groups and it will still make about a grapefruit sized cheese ball, but if you’re going to a bigger party, I would definitely do the whole thing because it will get eaten.  You will not believe what a big deal people make out of this appetizer!  But we all know now, it’s seriously NBD.

Happy Thanksgiving!