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Jack Bola De Queso

Servings: Makes one 1-pound cheese ball*

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups tortilla chips (plain, jalapeño, ranch or salsa flavored)
2 cups (8 ounces) Wisconsin pepper jack* cheese, shredded
1/2 cup (2 ounces) Wisconsin sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
6 ounces Wisconsin cream cheese, cut in chunks and at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon Mexican hot sauce, or to taste (optional)
2 tablespoons white onion, grated
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1/4 cup Spanish olives with pimento, finely-chopped
Fresh cilantro, red jalapeño slices, or additional olives (optional), for garnish
Tortilla chips or crackers

Cooking Directions:

Place tortilla chips in the bowl of food processor. Process to fine crumbs. Pour on waxed paper and set aside.

Place pepper jack, cheddar, cream cheese, and hot sauce in bowl of food processor. Process until well-blended and smooth. Add onion and oregano. Pulse briefly to incorporate. Add a little half-and-half if mixture is too stiff. (You may also use a heavy-duty electric mixer to make cheese mixture.) Stir in olives or work in with your hands. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Form mixture into ball. Roll ball in tortilla crumbs. Garnish with fresh cilantro, slices of red jalapeños and/or additional olives.

Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.

Variation: Use salsa jack (for a milder ball), or chipotle or habañero jack (for a hotter ball.) If using chipotle jack, replace Spanish olives with ripe black olives.

*Recipe can be doubled for larger cheese ball.

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