Monday, November 23, 2009

Tex-Mex pimento cheese



I’m heading home in a couple of days, and since I won’t arrive to the farm until late Thursday morning, I’ve been trying to figure out dishes I can contribute to the Thanksgiving feast that won’t take a lot of time and effort. As I was going through my list of recipes, I came across that old favorite—pimento cheese.

Truth be told, I hadn’t eaten any since my grandfather’s funeral back in 2008. A woman that goes to my grandparent’s church had read my earlier blog post where I remarked that pimento cheese makes for fine funeral food. And so she made my recipe and brought it to the farm.

It was a hit—so much of a hit that my uncle Richard and I got in a huge fight over who would get to eat the last couple of spoonfuls. (Now lest you think my family and I don’t get along—we were all a bit stressed because of the funeral and were behaving like five year olds. This is not to say, however, that it wasn’t indeed a fine batch of pimento cheese.) That day was over a year ago, and that’s just too long to go without eating pimento cheese. So I decided to whip up a batch.



Pimento cheese is simple, really. At its most basic it’s just shredded cheddar cheese, some mayonnaise and chopped pimentos. But when I opened my refrigerator, I realized that I didn’t have any pimentos on hand. So I improvised.

I enjoy the tangy sweetness of the little red pimentos, but I also like the splash of color the peppers give to the spread. I had some Ro-Tel tomatoes on hand, so I threw them into my bowl. And to keep with the Tex-Mex theme, I decided to mix some lime juice, cilantro and cumin into my mayonnaise and tossed in a chopped Serrano chile as well.

There are many ways to eat pimento cheese, but my favorite way has always been simply as a dip. And the Tex-Mex profile of this spread definitely makes it perfect for tortilla chips. But it would also be terrific on a biscuit, folded into an omelet, or even scooped on top of a burger.



What do you call pimento cheese when it doesn’t have pimentos? Pepper cheese? Tomato cheese? Pimento-not cheese? Tex-Mex cheese? I have no idea, but no matter what you call this pimento cheese, it’s still pretty darn good.

Tex-Mex pimento cheese, hold the pimentos
1 pound of shredded cheddar cheese (four cups)
1 can of Ro-Tel, drained
1/3 cup of mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon of lime juice
1/4 cup of cilantro chopped
1 clove of garlic, mined
2 Serrano chiles, finely diced
Salt, black pepper and Cayenne to taste

Method:
Mix all ingredients together and chill for a few hours.

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51 comments:

Esmer said...

This recipe for "not-pimento cheese" reminds me of my favorite pimento cheese recipe--it has green chiles, in addition to the pimentos.
YUM!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sassy Molassy said...

This looks great! I like to use roasted red peppers in place of the pimentos (basically the same, but still kinda different) for extra flavor. Can't wait to try this variation.

bluejeangourmet said...

Now all I need is a bag of blue corn chips...happy Thanksgiving, Lisa!

Melissa said...

Pimento Cheese w/ or w/o the pimento is so addicting. In the spirit of pimento cheese, I have Central Markets pimento cheese recipe. If you'd like it, I'd be happy to share.

Pimento Cheese on walnut/onion bread is my fave!!!

whitney said...

I love pimento cheese and celery. YUM.

TKW said...

Pimiento cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods! I add jalapenos to mine...boy, it's good.

Lauren McK said...

Melissa! I would looooove the recipe so I can attempt to recreate at home in DC. The Central Market version got me hooked, and I'm constantly tweaking my recipe to try to replicate it.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Esmer--I adore green chiles. I'll have to try that next time! And a happy Thanksgiving to you, too!

Sassy Molassy--I would think that roasted red peppers probably have a more robust flavor. Good idea!

Bluejeangourmet--These are excellent with blue corn chips!

Melissa--Yes, please share! There's at least two of us that want to see it!

Whitney--Such a classic combination--I agree!

TKW--I agree, jalapenos are wonderful in pimento cheese.

Lauren McK--I'm hooked on just about anything Central Market makes! Man, I miss that store.

folloder said...

HT...
Pimiento cheese was almost always consumed as a "stuffing" for celery stalks. (Yes, on toasted potato bread with a thick slice of beefsteak tomato is good,, too.) So guess how the celery will be dressed on Thursday 'round here?

Gabriela said...

Bookmarking this one for Superbowl Sunday.

lisa said...

I like this twist on pimento cheese! Sounds great as a dip, and I'd take a sandwich with it too.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Jeff--Oh, yes! I'm big on pimento cheese in my celery as well.

Gabriela--It's perfect for the big game!

Lisa--I used to live off of pimento cheese sandwiches when I was a kid. Guess what's for dinner?

Abby said...

I love pimento cheese! I moved back to my parents' house as a thin thing, took a job at night, came home and ate my mom's pimento cheese on Triscuits and LEFT their house a nice, round thing. HA.

We cook our mayo with vinegar and salt and add it to the cheese, which of course should be sharp, sharp, sharp! (In N.C., that is.)

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Abby--What a fantastic idea to add vinegar to your mayo--I bet that adds some tang. And I hear you about how our favorite foods affect our waistlines. Sigh, the things we do for love!

Tasty Eats At Home said...

This actually sounds better to me than pimiento cheese, because *gasp* I don't really like pimiento cheese! I would so dig into a bowl of this, however!

Melanie said...

This sounds delicious! I've been hooked on Central Market's homemade pimento cheese...it's fresh, rich, and delicious. But now, I am making this one for sure!!

Transplanted Texan said...

Bless you Bless you Bless you for posting this recipe!!
I'd long forgotten the pimento spread of my South Texas childhood! When it hit the table at our various events the kids would always swarm and it would be gone in seconds flat!
Now that I'm an adult, I can already see my own children fighting me for it!
Mine of course will be buddied up with a Corona and lime though! ;o)

iamahoneybee said...

hmm it seems like I might be the only one here who has never had pimento cheese before. I have to find some in Boston and give it a try!
Your recipe sounds great!

Micki said...

Please help out a mid-westerner who never worked with peppers. How do you prepare green chilies? What about jalapenos?...not sure what you do with the seeds, keep them or toss them? Cut the peppers in tiny pieces? How do you color the chips blue? Ha ha...got you there didn't I. Now how many said "dumb midwesterners?"

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

I'm popping over to wish y'all a Happy Thanksgiving.
I hope you turkey browns and your sweet potato souffle fluffs.

Anonymous said...

YUM!!!!!

Kym said...

I have already done the roasted pepper version with peppers I roasted myself, pretty darn good.
I'll try your version but to be honest I really do love the plan stuff, reminds me of my mom.

The Allen's said...

Are you still going to be in town on Saturday? We are having the Fain Thanksgiving at my mom and dad's at 12.

MitMoi said...

I make an "Adult Version" of Pimiento Cheese - it has Chipolte en Adobo in it ... I made it for our church bazaar luncheon. Huge hit with the southern's and made my southwestern heart sing.

Anonymous said...

Have you tried using cream cheese instead of mayo? It sounds like a 50s recipe (if you encased it in jello, it probably would be), but it's super good with sharp cheddar.
~Jen R in Fort Worth

Kevin said...

That is a tasty looking cheese dip!

Anonymous said...

I never had pimento cheese as anything other than a sandwich! Well, yes on the celery. But mom made sandwiches with it! Texas, my Texas!

Tommy said...

Pimiento cheese has never been all that popular in Canada. I mean we see constant references to it on FN and other American programmes and know it is a staple, but it never has caught on here.
Hard to find actual pimiento at some stores even unless they're stuffed into an olive.

I'll make this though. Probably eat the whole thing myself.

I'll fire off one of Uncle Richard's sweet potato pies too, since you've reminded me it's US Thanksgiving.

Have a good holiday.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Tasty Eats at Home--This is like queso unplugged.

Melanie--I hope it compares favorably in your opinion to Central Market's excellent pimento cheese!

Transplanted Texan--I think a Corona and lime go dandy with this cheese!

Iamahoneybee--Good luck finding it in Boston--Whole Foods might have it but it tends to be more prevalent in the South.

Micki--I keep the seeds because I'm lazy; you may choose to discard them. And yes, for this I cut the peppers in tiny pieces. And would you believe I once had in Austin of all places died blue corn chips? There's no need for that when blue corn is readily available in the Southwest!

Anon--Thanks!

Kym--Plain stuff is pretty awesome as well. I'm an equal-opportunity pimento cheese eater!

Jessica--I'll try to come!

MitMoi--Oh, nice! I love that you add chipotle! And if the church ladies love it you know that it's a hit!

Anon--I love pimento cheese sandwiches! Used to eat them often myself when I was young.

Tommy--Yep, for some reason it's never made much of an impact above the Mason-Dixon line, which is silly since it's so delicious and not too spicy. And I'll be sure and tell Uncle Richard tomorrow that his pie has a fan in Toronto!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Kevin--Thank you! I know you'd love it!

Versailles Rose said...

There is NOTHING like Pimento Cheese. I love the stuff. I got hooked on it while working a gig in Charleston, SC.

I can't wait to try this recipe. Reading your food blog has given this northern gal a real appreciation for Ro-Tel.

Rip Ford said...

I'll have to give this a try. I grew up eating pimento cheese sandwiches and when the weather gets cold I still like to have one with a steaming hot mug of tomato soup.

Anonymous said...

Lisa,
I have never commented, but have followed your blog for a few years. I am just a California girl, but grew up on your kind of cookin'. I made Pimento Cheese yesterday, in honor of my dad, so it was a kick when I went to your blog today, to find your P. Cheese entry.
Happy Thanksgiving.
T.

KrnMackenzie said...

I made this spread for Thanksgiving weekend. It was a big hit - not just tasty as a spread and with veggies but TO DIE FOR when put on a turkey sandwich!

This is a keeper!

the fashionable traveler said...

I can't wait to try this! Love, love, love homemade pimento cheese.(avec or sans pimento.....nice touch) We get these amazing raw milk cheese here in Arkansas from Honeysuckle Lane, I can't wait to use their jalepeno chedder!

The Curious Cat said...

I saw this post advertised on the Kitchen Witch blog and was drawn immediately to it - what a fantastic idea! I sooo want to try this now! Yum! Wonder what it would be like with jalapenos in it...?! xxx

austineatssandwiches said...

whoaaa, this looks amazing. too often pimento cheese is plagued by mayonnaise globs and poor-quality cheeses. this looks like an amazing, hearty alternative! thanks!

Tommy said...

I actually tracked down some real pimentos here in Toronto.
I am angling to make some pimento cheese, especially after reading about it being a turkey sandwich topper.

Have to tell you I can't really tell the difference between commercially roasted red bell peppers and these pimentos. The producer is Moody Dunbar in Tennessee.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Celeste said...

There's a popular side dish in the midwest that you would probably love. It's Pea Salad, and it mixes finely cubed American cheese, mayonnaise, and frozen green peas. I suppose you could eat it on chips; it would cut the richness.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Versailles Rose--I'm so happy you have a newfound appreciation of Ro-Tel. It's definitely good stuff!

Rip Ford--It's perfect with tomato soup--that's one of my favorite combinations as well.

T--I love the serendipity! And very nice to meet you!

KmMackenzie--What an excellent way to give a tired turkey sandwich some life! Glad y'all enjoyed it!

The Fashionable Traveler--How fortunate you have a source for raw-milk cheese. And I love the name Honeysuckle Lane. Do enjoy!

The Curious Cat--It would be just as good with jalapenos, if not a little bit less fiery since they pack less heat than Serrano chiles.

Austineatssandwiches--I agree with you completely!

Tommy--Truth be told, I think pimentos--or pimientos as they're rightfully known--are nothing more than roasted red peppers chopped into little pieces. I could be wrong, but that's what they taste like. Hope you enjoy it!

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love your blog. I am a native Texan living in NYC and I just wanted to say that I think your food is great.
I just have one small request without trying to sound negative or douchey. Could you pull back sometimes on your shots? I have a hard time making out the food when it's so macro. Your photography is gorgeous, don't get me wrong, but inspiration is sometimes hard to come by when I don't understand what I'm looking at.
Sorry about the unsolicited advise, I'm not a crazy letter-writer, I promise.
Keep up the good work!
Lesley

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Hi Lesley--Thanks for the feedback. I will take that into consideration.

Scott said...

I just came home from Central Market where I bought some chipotle cheese dip (I always do when it is on sale) - and thought.....hmmm.....I bet homesick texan can tell me how to make my own at home. Then I see you recently posted this recipe - rather similar to the CM dip. Always one step ahead of me! Thanks!

Elizabeth said...

My Best Friend brought up Leibman's Southwestern Cheese (Wine & Foods in Houston). It was very similar and tasted great. I'll have to try your recipe on her.

Did Melissa ever post the Central Market recipe?

BTW - I was a Homesick Texan in Atlanta when I found your blog - but now we're back home - Yeah!!!!

Anonymous said...

This sounds wonderful. I'm suppose to bring an appetizer for a Christmas Party in a couple of weeks and was trying to think of something a little different and special to bring. I think I will spread it on a flour tortilla, roll the tortilla up and slice bite-size pieces. Then I'll plate them on a pretty and festive dish. Thanks for the inspiration!

Kelly Fisher said...

Great recipe. I'm looking forward to trying your twist on an old favorite.

I use a mix of medium cheddar, jalapeno jack cheese, pimientos, green onions and HELLMANN'S mayonnaise.

Another trick I learned is NOT to use pre-grated cheese. It does not seem to have the moisture that freshly grated cheese has...while it takes a little longer, I think it's worth it.

Happy Holidays.

Melissa said...

Better late than never...sorry it took so long-was gone for the holiday and have had limited internet time!

Central Market’s Pimiento Cheese
source: Central Market Cooks

2 cups shredded sharp yellow Cheddar Cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 (4 oz) jar diced pimientos
½ t. sugar
1 t. garlic powder
1 T. minced fresh dill weed
¼ to 1/3 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix Cheddar and mozzarella cheese in a medium bowl.
2. Add the undrained pimientos, sugar, garlic powder and dill weed.
3. Add enough mayonnaise to make the desired consistency and toss lightly to mix well.
4. Season with salt and pepper.

the fashionable traveler said...

Lisa here is the website for Honeysuckle Lane/Daley Dairy
http://daleydairy.com/home.html

Next time I'm in NYC I'll be happy to bring you some.

Catherine

Carol Ann said...

I made this for a cocktail party last night and it was delicious! Everyone loved it! Thank you!

Brooke said...

When I was a kid I always ate pimento cheese sandwiches. I was an extremely picky eater and that was the only kind of sandwich I would eat. I've never eaten it any other way! I'll have to try it as a dip some time.

Teresa said...

I was in Llano TX last weekend and stopped in at Millers, a great meat processing store. They have lots of meat and beer and their "Famous" pimento cheese. I had to have some with jalapenos, and it was really good. After it was gone, I decided that I had to make my own and, like you, found that I had no pimientos so I made this. It turned out really good! Thanks for the recipe, I will make it again and again.

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