Master Platers: Obatzda (Bavarian Cheese Spread)

By Chef Aaron Clemins of Kuchnia & Keller


For the Cheese:

3 tbs cooking oil (canola or vegetable, just not extra virgin olive oil)
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
pinch of salt
1 tall boy Miller High Life
1 quart heavy whipping cream
1 quart chicken stock
2 cloves garlic
100 grams fontina cheese
350 grams Sweetwater Valley buttermilk cheddar (may substitute other good melting cheese, Gruyère, or Monterey Jack)
50 grams cream cheese
100 grams Camembert cheese (Brie works fine)
2 egg yolks

For the Salad:

1 small head savoy or green cabbage (about 1 lb)
1 small red onion
2–3 carrots
4–5 radishes
sweet sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
rye bread or rye crackers


Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add the yellow onion and a pinch of salt. Cook the onions till they start to caramelize. Turn the heat to low and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the onions are completely soft. Add half the can of High Life and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze.

Cook the onions for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the liquid is gone. Add the cream, chicken stock, and garlic to the pan and increase the heat to high. Cook until the mixture reduces by 50 percent, adjusting the heat so the bottom does not scorch.  

While the cream is reducing, grate the fontina and buttermilk cheddar. Cut the cream cheese and Camembert into smaller pieces if you can.

Add the cream mixture to a blender while still very warm. Blend on low, then increase the speed while adding the cheeses a little at a time. Add the egg yolks after all the cheese is in. If the blender is having a hard time blending, you can add hot water a little at a time to help it come together. The cheese spread should be the consistency of thick pancake batter when finished.

Pour the cheese into a plastic container and place plastic wrap on top of the cheese, so that a skin does not form on the top. Do not cover with a lid. Refrigerate overnight until completely cooled. Once cooled, the spread may be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week.

For serving, thin-slice cabbage, carrots, red onion, and radishes into a large bowl. Dress with a couple tablespoons of vinegar and olive oil and a pinch of salt. Serve the cheese and salad with warm rye bread or rye crackers. Serves 10 to 15 people (depending on who your friends are).

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