I remember the first time I wanted to make one of these I felt a little overwhelmed there was something about it that seemed a little mysterious to me. So I did what I do when ever I want to learn how to cook something new... I read and read and read recipes. I noticed that aside from the fact that they seemed far more simple than I had thought they all had basically the same thing a soft cheese, a dried meat of some sort, and usually onions of some kind.
The first one I made called for dried beef you can find it in a jar in the grocery store it is the strangest thing ever but it worked.
I got on a cheese ball kick and I tried some rather strange combination some were fabulous and some were well... not so much. Here are a few things I like to use...
The meat I like (I would only use one type per ball)
hard salami or
I use add ins like
oven dried tomatoes (or the more $$ sun dried work well too)
I only use green onions/scallions
For the cheese I usually stick to cream cheese it is most reasonably prices soft cheese I do sometimes use a goat cheese and mascarpone mix but only because we LOVE goat cheese in this house. But good oll Philly cream cheese works just wonderfully.
In this cheese ball I used salami I threw it in the processor before I added the other stuff so that there were not big bites of the meat. How much meat... well I used about a hand full of slices there is also a half a bunch of green onions and a blob of roasted garlic...throw the cheese in the processor after you have chopped the other stuff together. Chill mixture in the fridge for about an hour until it has firmed back up a little then roll it into a ball or log and roll in chopped nuts (I like pecans) This is a great thing for Superbowl parties...
or just a stay at home date with your special someone. A bottle of wine, a cheese ball and some grown up crackers makes for a nice break from the craziness of the day.