When I saw that Just A Pinch recipe website was hosting a "Sporty Snack Showdown" recipe contest, I knew exactly what my entry would be! I piled my favorite ingredients together (artichokes, garlic, olives and cream cheese) into a delicious cheese ball, shaped it into a football and rolled it in bacon. It's so easy to make, can be made ahead of time and is the perfect centerpiece for your next football party!
Pass The Pigskin Cheese Spread
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Montreal style steak seasoning
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/3 cup chopped black olives
4 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/3 cup chopped tomato
½ cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup plus 1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
12 ounces cooked bacon
Assorted crackers, chips, baguette or crudité for serving.
In a medium mixing bowl stir together the cream cheese, garlic, steak seasoning, artichokes, olives, Monterey Jack cheese, tomato, cilantro and ¼ cup of the mayonnaise. Once the mixture is well combined, place the mixture in a plastic wrap lined small mixing bowl, and place it in the fridge to cool for at least 30 minutes.
While the cheese mixture is chilling, place the bacon in a food processor and pulse until it is very finely chopped.
When the cheese mixture has firmed up, remove it from the fridge and turn it over onto a serving platter. Using your hands, shape the wrapped cheese mixture into the shape of a football. Remove the layer of plastic wrap and then lightly press the finely chopped bacon into the cheese mixture, covering it completely.
Place the remaining 1 Tablespoon of mayonnaise into a small plastic zip top bag. Using scissors, cut a small hole in the corner of the bag. Pipe the mayo on top of the bacon, making it look like the laces on a football.
Serve spread with crackers, chips, baguette or crudité.