Caramelized Onion & Cheddar “Football”

While I was organizing a football highlight on my Instagram page yesterday – I had an idea for a new football cheeseball. My tried and true one – see previous post – the Jalapeño Popper cheeseball has been my gameday go to for several years now. But I was craving something different. So I put it to my Instagram story poll if we wanted to see a savory recipe or a sweet and savory was overwhelmingly the answer, which was great, because this is what I had in mind.

Onions…onions are a tricky thing for me. I love them, but they don’t love me. It’s not enough to be considered an allergy, but maybe more along the lines of a severe intolerance. But much like my intolerance for most cow dairy products.. I push forward and allow myself to have really small amounts to see if I can tolerate it better. Usually the answer is no – so oh well. But I LOVE caramelized onions. They are decadent and rich and perfect for this cheeseball. So if you’ve read my Caramelized Onion & Bacon Jam post you’ll know how I cook my onions – but if not, I’m going to post it again here for you!

Using either a cast iron pan or Dutch oven – turn the heat down to medium/medium low and add 1 stick of butter to your pan and add your 2 medium sized thinly sliced onions plus a light sprinkle of sugar (think 1-2 tbsp) and stir to coat all the onions in your yummy melted butter mixture. Now here is where the time consuming part starts. Caramelizing onions can take a while! Typically I’ve found they Caramelize faster the less you mess with them. Every 4-5 minutes give a quick stir to the onions until they reach a nice golden brown caramelized color. Some folk will caramelize further until they are a deep brown color – but I personally don’t enjoy that taste so I stop a little early. This can take around 30 minutes or longer depending on the color you want to achieve. Now add your balsamic vinegar and stir. This helps deglaze your pan and pick up any yummy bits stuck to the bottom. Remove from heat and cool

While your onions are cooling – soften 2 blocks of cream cheese and shred your cheddar cheese. I don’t want to be one of those people to harp on you about not buying shredded cheese because I will also buy shredded cheese occasionally BUT if you buy a block, it is typically cheaper and your cheese doesn’t have that weird anti-caking flour texture all over it. But if you have pre-shredded, it’s all good – this is now your cheeseball!

Once the onions are cool, add them to your cream cheese and cheddar cheese. I used a mesh strainer/scooper when I did this because I didn’t want the excess oil/butter in my cheese. Also – because of my intolerance for onions I only added maybe 1/2 of the mixture but if I were making this for my friends who can eat all the onions – I would’ve added the entire mixture. Add in salt, pepper, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes and stir to combine.

Get your ball onto a sheet pan or large plate lined with parchment paper and form into a football shape and place in fridge to firm up.

While it’s in the fridge, get a small sauté pan and add a little oil and turn to medium heat. Add in your fried onions and stir to combine with oil. Keep an eye on these because they will burn quickly. You only need a few minutes on the heat for them to brown up a little. Remove from heat and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up any extra oil.

Now it’s time to assemble!! Place your football on the platter you plan to serve it on and coat it with the fried onions. Once it is completely covered, cut up your slice of cheese to resemble laces and gently place on top! Now assemble the rest of your snack plate surrounding your football. I love crackers, pretzels, veggies, some salami, pickled stuff, and of course extra cheese.. because why the hell not! Now kick back with your snacks and enjoy the game!

Caramelized Onion & Cheddar Football

  • 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 blocks cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1-2 tsp garlic powder, more or less to taste
  • 1 cup crispy fried onions
  • Slice of swiss, provolone, or mozzarella cheese

Start by caramelizing your onions, following the method above and remove from heat. Mix together your cream cheese, shredded cheese, and seasonings and form into football shape on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and place in refrigerated to firm. Lightly toast your fried onions in a little olive oil over medium heat and remove and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up any excess oil. Coat your football with the fried onions and slice your piece of cheese to resemble laces and gently place on top of the football! ENJOY!!


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