Prep time includes time to chill your cheese ball.
1 pound bacon
2/3 cup sweet onion, minced fine*
2/3 cup sweet red bell pepper, minced fine*
1 tablespoon garlic, minced fine*
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons apricot jam (or other favorite jam or preserves)
½ cup pecans, divided
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup sour cream
1 cup swiss cheese, shredded on large holes of a box grater
3 cups sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded on large holes of a box grater
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
¼ cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
Crackers for serving
Cook bacon to crisp and drain on paper towels. Crumble into small pieces or chop on a cutting board. Divide in half and set aside.
Reserve two tablespoons of the bacon fat and save the rest for other recipes, or discard.
In a clean pan, heat the two tablespoons of bacon fat and add onions, bell peppers and garlic and saute about four minutes over medium high until soft.
Lower heat to medium and add sugar, vinegar and jam and cook for another minute, then remove pan to cool.
In a small dry pan over medium heat, toast pecans for about 2-3 minutes until browned. Remove to a cutting board and chop fine. Take half the nuts and set aside into a medium bowl.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until smooth then beat in the sour cream. Scrape and beat again.
Add the swiss, cheddar, salt, pepper, half of the chopped nuts, half of the chopped bacon and all of the contents from the pan with the onions and peppers.
Mix with paddle just long enough to incorporate, don’t over mix.
Refrigerate for one hour.
Add the remaining chopped bacon to the bowl with the nuts and stir in the chopped parsley.
Lay out a big piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper and sprinkle half the bacon and nut mixture out.
Use a rubber spatula to gather up the cheese mixture and using your hands, form into a ball shape then set in the center of the topping mixture.
Pour the rest of the topping over the top of the cheese ball then use the plastic or parchment to lift the sides to get the topping all the way around the ball. Roll the ball into the mixture until it is all used.
Place on a serving dish and refrigerate again for another hour.
Serve with crackers.
*If you are not comfortable mincing, the onion, bell pepper and garlic, they could be chopped in a food processor.
Keywords: cheddar bacon cheese ball