Friday, August 26, 2011

Pimiento Cheese- a very Southern YUM!

I have not had this nor made it since living in Nashville, TN.  I discovered this "Southern Caviar" during my first month there, at the first teacher luncheon I attended.  I was instantly in love and wondering why no one up North ever makes this!  If you like cheese, and you like anything with a little kick, you will LOVE Pimiento Cheese.  It is great on crackers, crostinis, veggies, tea sandwiches, or as a topping to meat, etc. 
For my version, I used a conglomerate of recipes I have tasted or been given by Southern friends.  Some from the older generation, some from the young.  Mine uses cream cheese which is more "modern".  The traditional is only cheddar, mayo, and of course pimientos.

A food processor is the easiest way to do this, but a hand mixer would do in a pinch.  I use my mom's awesome vintage "La Machine" food processor from 1978, and it works like a dream.  A brown and tan dream...

Okay, for this recipe you will need:
-One package cream cheese (Neufchatel or lowfat is fine, no fat free though!)
-One package sharp cheddar shredded cheese
-Mayonnaise (lowfat fine, fat free not fine) about 1/2 cup
-1-3 cloves of garlic (depending on your taste)
-1-2 large kosher dill pickles (depending on your taste)
-1 four ounce jar of pimientos, drained
-Louisiana Hot Sauce or Tabasco to taste
-Salt and Pepper to taste

First, put the pickle or pickles and the garlic cloves in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Then add the cream cheese and mayo and whip it up really well.  After that add your cheese, pimientos, salt, pepper, and a dash or two of hot sauce.  Pulse until just blended as you don't want to pulverize the cheese and pimientos.
Then you can taste and add a bit more salt or hot sauce if you want.  To make it more spreadable, you can always add more mayo.  Even if you don't like hot stuff, use a little hot sauce.  It gives it a distinct pimiento cheese flavor and it doesn't make it hot unless you add a bunch.

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