Chipped Beef Ball, aka MSG Ball
From Tera’s Mom, Doreen
Happy wine and cheese day! This is THE day for the HMK. The academy awards of cooking. The night where we pull out all the cheesy stops. You see, this is my sixth year hosting my annual wine and cheese soiree. The first was in my parent’s kitchen with about 10 of my high school friends. Since then it’s seen 5 locations, countless bottles of wine, and well over a hundred guests. And those guests come expecting cheesy greatness. The rules are simple: everyone is responsible for bringing [at least] one bottle of wine, and I provide all the cheese. I usually try out a few new recipes every year, but there is one constant: the infamous MSG Ball.
My family has been serving this at parties since the beginning of time. It is the most amazing, completely addicting use of cream cheese I have ever tasted. My mom never uses a recipe when she makes it, and there’s never been a complaint. Nonetheless, when I started making it for wine and cheese, I wanted something to go off of. She agreed to search through her recipe files for the source of the deliciousness, and ultimately sent me a list of ingredients from a recipe circa 1980. That list included a mysterious ingredient called Ac’cent. A Google search revealed that Ac’cent is a little shaker filled with one simple ingredient: monosodium glutamate – “a terrific alternative to salt!” Also known as MSG, which may sound familiar from signs in Chinese restaurants advertising “We never use MSG!” This proclamation is because a few years back it was discovered that the popular Chinese food additive may cause headaches in some people, although it has not been scientifically proven. Since the FDA requires cold, hard facts the product is still on the market 32 years later. You can find it on the very bottom shelf of the spice aisle. Despite its potential ill effects, there’s no denying that it provides a unique savory umami flavor, much like soy sauce, mushrooms, and beef.
Ever since I reveled the secret ingredient to my friends they’ve renamed the dish the MSG Ball. The general consensus of most guests is that after drinking a minimum of 1 bottle of wine per person a headache is pretty inevitable anyway! So here’s to Wine and Cheese, 2012, with a side of Advil!
- 8-oz tub whipped cream cheese
- 2-oz regular cream cheese, softened
- 2-oz package Buddig Corned Beef, chopped into little pieces
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 tsp Ac’cent (if you are opposed to MSG, I’d say use 1/8 tsp salt instead, or maybe try swapping in 1/4 tsp soy sauce, which has a similar umami flavor)
- 1/4 cup celery, chopped small (about 1 stalk)
- 3 green onions, minced (green parts only)
- 3/4 cup pecans, chopped
- crackers, for serving
- In a large bowl, use a wooden spoon to mash both cream cheeses together with the beef, garlic powder, Worcestershire, Ac’cent, celery and green onions.
- Leave the mixture in the fridge overnight.
- Before serving form the cold mixture into a ball. Roll in chopped pecans.
- Serve with crackers.
Serves a party of happy guests.