Childhood Favorite Resurrected - Pimento Cheese

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noboundaries

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Sep 7, 2013
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Roseville, CA, a suburb of Sacramento
My parents used to bring home store-bought pints of pimento cheese spread. I LOVED it! But, I quickly learned it wasn't for the kids. It was for my parent's parties and their friends. Evidently, in Socal market deli counters, pimento cheese spread was pricy.

Flash forward to my teen years and life in the South. Pimento cheese spread was EVERYWHERE! Neighbors made it. Stores sold it by the quart. I was in pimento cheese heaven.

Life took me westward again, and pimento cheese faded into old memories, disappearing from my life for decades.

A couple of weeks ago guess what pops up on YouTube - pimento cheese! I had to make it. I bought the ingredients, followed a recipe I liked, and the flavors I loved as a kid returned. But now, my adult cooking brain said, "You can do better."

Below is about 2/3's of the batch I made yesterday afternoon. I can't stay out of it. The recipe is below, including some ideas I'll play with in future batches. Feel free to beat me to the punch. And, if you have a pimento cheese recipe you love, share it.

Say CHEESE!

Ray

Ray's Pimento Cheese Spread

Future addition ideas:
- a half cup of chopped onion or 2 tsp onion powder for a bit more complexity.
- a small can (7 oz) of drained chopped green peppers, hot, medium, or mild.

Ingredients and Directions
12-14 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated with a food processor or hand grater
3-4 oz neufchatel softened cream cheese
2 oz pecorino romano, finely grated
1/2 cup jarred diced pimentos (2 small jars), drained
⅓ cup mayonnaise
⅓ cup sour cream
1 ½ Tbs Lawry's Garlic Salt (green cap). Add more if desired.
1 tsp granulated sugar (to soften the salt from cheese and Lawry's)
1 tsp ground black pepper. Add more if desired
Cayenne pepper to taste, optional.

Stir to mix thoroughly.
Cover and chill at least two hours to firm and allow the flavors to mix.
Makes about 4 cups.
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LOL. Wife is all about that stuff. I don't care for it BUT I seem to remenber it tasting MUCH better so I will not rule out making some myself. There's no way the store is making it like that!
 
So true Ray that's as common as a tomato sandwich down here and love it !
And yours looks and sounds great!
We had a neighbor from Georgia who made the BEST pimento cheese, and I believe she added a little grated onion. I'm getting there, but this version, which added the sour cream, a little more garlic salt, the pecorino romano, sugar, and the neufchatel (light) cream cheese, was WAAAY better than my first batch. That's why I posted it.

CHEESE!
This brings backs memories too!
I’ll have to make this. Thanks for sharing.
So easy, and so worth it, Justin. Enjoy!

LOL. Wife is all about that stuff. I don't care for it BUT I seem to remember it tasting MUCH better so I will not rule out making some myself. There's no way the store is making it like that!
My wife's family made it all the time when she was a kid. They used free cheese provided by Uncle Sam to her grandparents. She had it so much back then that she got tired of eating it. For my first batch, I did not drain the pimentos. Tasted okay to me, but wow, did I get an earful of how it's supposed to be done. She took one bite of this second batch and said, "OMG, this is SOOOO much better than the last batch. What'd you do differently?" Then she said the one thing I always dread, "Don't change a thing. This is delicious!" Yeah, well, that's like telling a kid to stop imagining different ways to play with their toys.
 
I have a similar story. We bought the product at local grocery stores and it was expensive. I finally told my wife that I could make a better
version. The kids tell me that is true. They suggested that a small business was in order.......why ruin a good hobby!
My recipe follows:

David’s Pimento Cheese Recipe​



Put at least 2 pounds of cheese in the smoker. COLD smoke the cheese for at least

4 hours with hickory smoke. 6 hours is better. Dry the cheese with a paper towel

if necessary after smoking. Pack the cheese in a plastic bag.

Vacuum packed bags are the best since the cheese must age for several weeks.

After 3 weeks, the cheese is likely ready. If packed in a vacuum bag, the cheese

can age for more than a year (the vacuum bag prevents mold from forming).

I use 1 pound of Colby Jack and 1 pound of New York sharp cheddar.



The ingredients:

2 pounds of smoked cheese

2 TBS of freshly ground black pepper

1 TBS of granulated garlic

1 TBS of granulated onion powder

1.5 TBS of ground celery seed….not celery salt

1 TSP of cayenne pepper

1 TBS of worcestershire sauce.

12 ounces of cooked, crumbled bacon

2 TBS of diced, pickled jalapeno pepper, (optional)

2 7 oz jars of DICED pimentos, drained (some of the juice is OK)

1 to 2 cups of mayo….(depends on how much is needed to smooth out the mixture)



Shred the cheese with your food processor. Mix all the dry spices together in a small bowl. Sprinkle the spices over the shredded cheese while stirring the cheese in a large bowl. After the spices have thoroughly coated the cheese, Stir some more!! When blended well. Stir some more!! Add mayo to the mixture while stirring with a strong spoon or spatula. Keep adding mayo until you get the consistency that you like. Add the jalapenos and pimentos last so that they don’t get made into mush by stirring.

Taste test.

*sometimes I use Monterey Jack cheese or New York Sharp cheddar.

*adjust the cayenne to your taste.

*I can’t find any ground celery seed, so I grind it in my “propeller grinder”.

*TBS is Tablespoon, TSP is teaspoon.
 
I have to pace myself when a batch is "calling" me from the refrigerator.
Yeah, I haven't learned that pacing skill, yet. Two half sandwiches so far today and just finished a dinner appetizer of Tricuits and pimento cheese.

I've already put your ingredients on my shopping list. Will have to smoke some cheese, too.
 
Cook the bacon just enough to say it is cooked. You want it to be chewy. I cook it in the smoker and then freeze it before running it
through the food processor. You must eat one piece of bacon after it cooks in the smoker for quality control!
 
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Not real common around these parts, but it sure looks good and tasty.

Point for sure
Chris
 
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Thanks, Chris.

I can't remember seeing pimento cheese for sale anywhere in my neck of the woods. Then again, I really wasn't looking for it. I'll hunt for it on my next trips to the grocery store to see if anyone is selling it in my area.
 
Made my third batch yesterday substituting drained Rotel tomatoes (Original) for the pimentos. Had to add a tsp of vinegar to give it a little tang. The only way I'd use Rotel again is if I couldn't find pimentos because there was really no change in flavor. The sharp cheese overpowers the Rotel flavors.
 
Oh my goodness! See, threads like this make me so very glad I signed up - thank you for the recipes! I can't wait to try them on my hungry bunch.

I have lived in Alberta, Canada all my life and had never heard of pimento cheese until it was brought up during an episode of Breaking Bad that hubby and I were watching. Hubs had never heard of it either, so he asked me to find a recipe and make it for the next week's episode. Well, I did and it's been a family favorite since then. I like serving it with a loaf of no-knead bread, warm and fresh from the oven - it's such a good, simple pleasure!

Instead of jarred pimentos (which are absolutely crazy expensive for a teeny tiny jar in my neck of the woods) I fire-roast my own red peppers and use them. I too use smoked cheese, but only a bit as flavoring and sharp cheddar cheese for the bulk of it. Instead of cream cheese, I use a few good spoonfuls of mayonnaise. After a few tries and a little tweaking, I've found a formula that works well for my guys - like I said, no one here knew what the real pimento cheese was supposed to taste like, so this works for us!

Next time I make a batch, I'll post pictures and the recipe.
 
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