Southern pimento cheese is a classic staple of wedding showers, baby showers, and Southern lunches in general. This is my creamy, from-scratch version!
Okay, let’s be real for a second. Is there anything more trendy right now than classic Southern pimento cheese? I am not sure that there is. I don’t know if this is a phenomenon strictly here in the Southeast, where pimento cheese has certainly always been a mainstay, or if it’s a Southern trend sweeping the nation (anyone who isn’t from the South care to weigh in on that?) but in the past couple of years it has definitely been elevated around these parts from an ingredient on finger sandwiches at ladies’ luncheons to a popular menu item at some pretty upper-crust restaurants (for example, one of my favorite places to order pimento cheese-and the place that I went to celebrate my BCBA exam with pimento cheese and fried pickles-is Public House in downtown Chattanooga). Last week someone was talking about the trend of pimento cheese on a burger, which definitely isn’t a new thing but these days it seems to be everywhere. Honestly, there are fewer and fewer local places that don’t serve pimento cheese (and some chains too….a few years ago I had some of the worst pimento cheese I’ve ever eaten on some sliders at a chain restaurant).
In case you noticed, yes, I’ve written about pimento cheese before. I’ve modified my recipe since then….I decided that pimento cheese needs to have a little more substance, so I stopped putting it in the food processor. I’ve also upped the flavor quotient a little bit with a couple of additional ingredients. I find this version to be more spreadable than the version made in the food processor. Feel free to add some cooked, cooled, and crumbled bacon if you want (and really, why wouldn’t you?). Also, the Lee Bros. (my favorites) suggest in their book The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook that if you are going to use your pimento cheese in grilled cheese sandwiches or for melting on a burger that you omit the mayonnaise and mold the cheese into a block that you can cut slices from (leaving out the mayo eliminates the “grease factor”). Makes sense to me.
Make my classic Southern pimento cheese and let me know what you think! What’s your favorite way to make-and eat-pimento cheese?
Yield: About 1 1/2 cups
50 minTotal Time:
- 1 red pepper
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¼-½ cup mayonnaise
- salt and pepper, to taste
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- Set a rack on the top level of the oven and turn the broiler on high. Slice the “cheeks” or the sides off of the red pepper, leaving the seeds and stem behind. Place the pieces of pepper skin side up on the broiler pan or a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil until completely charred. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic for 15 minutes.
- Scrape the charred skin from the roasted red pepper. Cut the pepper into strips then finely dice.
- Place the cream cheese in a medium bowl and use a spatula to “cream” the cream cheese until it is a spreadable consistency. Add the red pepper, cheddar, the mustard, the Worcestershire sauce, and the cayenne, if using. Add mayonnaise until you reach the desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.