Everyone needs a few easy make-ahead appetizers for the holiday season. That’s why it pays to keep a block of cream cheese and a stick of real butter on hand at all times so that you can whip up this ultra-creamy red-wine-infused cheese ball.

The delicious spread gets flavor from reduced red wine and shallots, and it brings a festive flair to your holiday table when rolled in minced fresh Italian parsley. It’s a snap to mix together, but it’s impressive enough to serve at even your fanciest dinner party.

Red Wine Cheese Ball
By Lori & Paul
Makes one 1-pound cheese ball

Ingredients:

1 cup red wine
1 medium shallot, minced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 ounces (1/3 cup) Blue Cheese, crumbled
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced

Directions:

Combine red wine and minced shallots in 1-quart saucepan; bring to boil over high heat. Boil until reduced to 1 1/2 tablespoons, about 12 minutes. Allow mixture to cool.

Add cooled wine to softened butter, Blue Cheese and cream cheese, season with salt and pepper. Cream with electric mixer, or stir with fork, until well combined.

Turn cheese mixture out onto piece of plastic wrap, and from into ball shape, twisting top of wrap to seal. Place in small bowl and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.

Unwrap chilled cheese ball and roll in minced parsley to cover. Place on platter and allow to rest at room temperature about 30 minutes before serving. Great served with fresh vegetables or crackers.

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