Pimento cheese is another one of those Southern staple foods. I had it a lot growing up, but it was usually off the grocery shelf.
Let me tell you, if you think you don’t like pimento cheese based on a pre-packaged version of it try just ONCE to make it yourself. I guarantee you will sing a different tune after tasting a homemade version. Just the difference alone in quality of ingredients is enough to turn you on to the stuff forever.
I probably don’t need to say it, but I’m going to – the most important component is picking a stellar cheese. Don’t skimp here! I suggest a base of a sharp or extra sharp cheddar, yellow or white is up to you. From there, the possibilities are really endless. You can pair with Monterrey Jack, smoked cheddar, hot pepper cheese, Colby jack, – or go with all cheddar. Once you make it a few times, you’ll find your pace in what you like and the different pairings to shake it up.
Jalapeno Pimento Cheese (THM S)
- 8oz sharp white cheddar cheese
- 6oz jalapeno cheddar cheese
- 2/3 c cream cheese
- 1/2 c mayonnaise
- 2-3 tsp diced pickled jalapenos
- 1/3 c roasted red peppers or jarred pimentos
- salt and pepper
If you’re roasting your own red pepper, which I highly recommend for cost and taste reasons, let’s start there.
I used small sweet peppers this time around, where I normally use just one regular red bell pepper, because I didn’t want to buy anything special and I already had these in the fridge. *They may look like it, but they definitely are NOT red jalapenos – you don’t want those. If you have it, you can also use a red bell pepper.
Rub the pepper(s) with EVOO and arrange them on a baking sheet with your broiler set on normal. Broil the peppers until the skin blisters (turning black is totally OK!), turn, and blister on the other side.
Stay close to the broiler while this happens, because it goes quickly. Set them aside to cool so that the skin has a chance to separate from the flesh of the pepper.
Once it cools, gently peel the skin off the pepper, seed, and chop it finely.
Now it’s time for the cheese!
Let me save you some time here. The shredding attachment on a food processor just can’t handle cheese. I thought I had a brilliant idea by slightly freezing the cheese to make it harder, thereby easier to shred. No. It all ended with the same sad story – the little food processor that couldn’t.
Instead, I pulsed chunks of cheese with the regular chopper until it was about the size of small peas. You can shred it by hand, if you prefer. I just prefer that things go more quickly, and I wasn’t interested in the carpel tunnel afterward. I shredded the jalapeno cheddar by hand, because it was a small piece.
Next up, is cream cheese. I used regular fat here, you can go for less if you like. I also let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes to soften slightly. I split the block about 70/30 – 2/3 c to my bigger batch of spicy cheese and 1/3 to the smaller batch of white.
On the mayonnaise, I only like the bare minimum to pull everything together. If you like a looser texture, by all means add to your heart’s desire. Also add the pimentos, jalapenos, a little of the jalapeno pickling juice, salt and pepper. Use a hand mixer to combine.
Sharp White Pimento Cheese (THM S)
- 4oz sharp white cheddar
- 1/4 c roasted red peppers, or jarred pimentos
- 1/3 c cream cheese
- 2 Tsp mayonnaise
- salt and pepper
Preparation is exactly the same as above. This made a fairly small batch, about 1 – 1 1/2 cups. You can make it as big or as small as you like – play with it!
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors combine. Store in the fridge in an air-tight container.
You may be asking, “Now what?” Well, in the words of Frank, I put that shit on everything.
My kids love pimento cheese sandwiches, you can also enjoy it on crackers, scrambled eggs, burgers, spoons…you name it! Have fun with it, kids. ^_^