Thursday, February 04, 2016

Baked jalapeño pimento cheese dip

Baked jalapeño pimento cheese dip | Homesick Texan

To mark the Super Bowl each year, I like to prepare dishes that reflect each team. This year’s players are from Colorado and North Carolina, so I pondered making Denver omelets, ham biscuits, or pulled pork sandwiches for the game, but none of those really called out to me. Since it's also the fiftieth anniversary of the Super Bowl, for inspiration I looked towards the past.

First, I called my grandma and asked her if she remembered the first Super Bowl. “If the Cowboys weren’t playing then I probably didn’t watch it,” she said with a laugh. So I studied Texas newspapers and cookbooks from the late 1960s to see what was considered appropriate party food at that time.

Chile con queso was already a popular snack, as were nachos. A variety of dips were also present at most gatherings—with onion, cottage cheese, bacon almond, shrimp, and clam dips getting the most attention. I also read about unique concoctions such as liver and onion dip and bologna ka-bobs, but for some reason those are no longer in style.

Baked jalapeño pimento cheese dip | Homesick Texan

One dish, however, kept appearing in my research—pimento cheese. Back in the day, pimento cheese not only made frequent appearances on restaurant menus but was also served at home, too. This year’s game has been called the Southern bowl, and since pimento cheese has been called the pate of the South, I decided it would be a wonderful thing to share.

Pimento cheese, which is a creamy mix of cheddar, piquant peppers, and mayonnaise, has long been a favorite of mine. In both my books and on this site, I have several recipes for pimento cheese, but I wanted to do something different. Then I discovered baked pimento cheese, which is exactly what it sounds like—you take pimento cheese and let it hang out in the oven until it’s molten and hot. To me it sounded like a pimento cheese skillet queso—something any Texan can rally behind. My decision was made.

To ensure my baked pimento cheese would cook evenly and not turn into a puddle of grease, I took a lead from my New Year’s Day queso compuesto and went with cream cheese as the binding ingredient instead of mayonnaise. For the pimentos, I used the jarred variety, as their unique quality is particular to the dish.

To steer the pimento cheese even more to the Tex-Mex side, I swapped in Colby-Jack cheese for the usual cheddar. For heat and tang, I threw in some pickled jalapeños and jalapeño pickle juice. And even though the cream cheese did an excellent job of holding everything together, I folded in a couple of spoonfuls of mayonnaise, as it is traditional, after all.

Baked jalapeño pimento cheese dip | Homesick Texan

The pimento cheese tasted fine as it was and could easily be served cold. But I had my heart set on something warm and yielding, so I scooped it into a skillet and slipped it into the oven. After a few minutes, it emerged from the heat victorious. It was creamy, spicy, and a perfect match for tortilla chips. Indeed, chile con queso’s Southern cousin had arrived!

Baked jalapeño pimento cheese dip


Ingredients:
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
8 ounces (2 cups) Colby-Jack cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 ounces jarred pimento chiles, drained and diced
2 ounces (2 whole chiles or 1/4 cup sliced) pickled jalapeños, diced
1 tablespoon jalapeño pickle juice
1 teaspoon finely grated yellow onion
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Salt
Tortilla chips, for serving

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Stir together the cream cheese, Colby-Jack cheese, mayonnaise, pimento chiles, pickled jalapeños, jalapeño pickle juice, onion, and cayenne until well blended. Taste and add salt, if needed.

Spoon the pimento cheese into an 8-inch cast-iron skillet or 1-quart baking dish, and bake uncovered until soft and warm, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately with tortilla chips.


Yield:
8 servings

Author:


HOMESICKTEXAN.COM

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26 comments:

Nancy said...

Great idea! I cannot wait to try this! Thanks!

Lisa Fain (Homesick Texan) said...

Nancy--Enjoy!

Dorin said...

This sounds so good, I'm tempted to make it this morning at 5:40 AM for breakfast! 😜

Kathleen TheLavenderBouquet said...

Just wanted to say how much I am enjoying your blog! My husband and I were recently transferred to Texas and I have been trying to soak in EVERYTHING TEXAS! When I found your blog I found a goldmine of delish food AND I love how you share the background information, ie. history etc.It's something I try to do on my blog also. I am for sure making you dish today....we all love Pimento Cheese in our family! Thanks so much for helping me acclimate to our new home!! xx

Anonymous said...

Yum! This will have to make an appearance at a party, for sure.

Mike @ Optional Kitchen said...

"I also read about unique concoctions such as liver and onion dip and bologna ka-bobs, but for some reason those are no longer in style." That was a literal LOL from me :) Poor unstylish bologna.

I'm glad you subbed in the cream cheese; I had these horrified visions of tiny bits of scrambled egg and a slick of oil from heated mayonnaise. But maybe that's too untrusting of 60s-era cookery; I might have to try it.

Lisa Alado said...

Spicy, creamy, melty cheese...I. MUST. Make. This!! Thank you for creating this recipe! I have been a fan of baked pimiento cheese since I first had it at the wonderful Tupelo Honey Cafe in Asheville, NC. So excited to enjoy it again, now that you've given us a great recipe.

Anonymous said...

Amazing recipe! Thanks for creating it! I'm on it for SuperBowl Party!

Anonymous said...

I was already going to take pimento cheese to the neighbor's super bowl party, but now I will also pop it in the oven! Don't have a far walk to the party site, so should be perfect! Linda

Rosa said...

Oh my!! This looks AWESOME!!!! My husband loves pimento cheese and this would be perfect for him for Super Bowl Sunday!!! :-)

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Reminds of me the pimento cheese of my childhood all spiced up. It must bed wonderful!
Sam

Lisa Fain (Homesick Texan) said...

Dorin--It would make a fine breakfast!

Lisa Fain (Homesick Texan) said...

Kathleen TheLavenderBouquet--Welcome to Texas! I'm so pleased the blog is helping you get acquainted with your new home.

Lisa Fain (Homesick Texan) said...

Mike--Well, the eggs didn't scramble but with only mayonnaise it was really greasy.

Lisa Fain (Homesick Texan) said...

Lisa--I really want to go to Asheville! I've heard such good things about the town and Tupelo Honey.

Lisa Fain (Homesick Texan) said...

Linda--Sounds like a plan!

Lisa Fain (Homesick Texan) said...

Rosa--If he loves pimento cheese then he'll definitely love this!

Sam--It's exactly like that--classic pimento cheese with a little spice!

Anonymous said...

I am so glad I found your wonderful site. I have a homesick Texan in Manhattan who calls his mother (me) for how-to cook his missed favorites. I've been mailing him Ro-Tel and fish fry! Love the blog.
Barbara in East Texas

Rebecca said...

Made this tonight. The dish was cleaned. There were only three of us. Oops?

Janet said...

Great choice as a former Texan now in NC, I can say that pimento cheese is everywhere in the Carolinas and this version looks spectacular!

Travis said...

I am excited to try this and all of your recipes. I also just ordered both of your books. As a native Texan (Dallas, Houston and Austin) currently in my fourth stint as an expat (previously in GA, AZ and CA and now in the beautiful PNW - Oly, WA), I have never missed the food of my home region more. I expect your books and blog will nicely augment my own recipes. Tonight, in thinking about how I can marry the flavors of the SW with the fantastic ingredients of the PNW, it occurred to me to try chicken fried local oysters in tacos, with homemade tortillas and a salsa/cocktail sauce hybrid. Thanks for what I expect will be many fantastic dining experiences.

Unknown said...

I want to take this to a BBQ, is this ok to serve chilled?

Lisa Fain (Homesick Texan) said...

Barbara--I know he appreciates the care packages!

Lisa Fain (Homesick Texan) said...

Rebecca--That's been known to happen!

Lisa Fain (Homesick Texan) said...

Travis--Thank you for the kind words! And chicken-fried oysters in tortillas sounds wonderful! Happy cooking!

Lisa Fain (Homesick Texan) said...

Unknown--Yes, you can eat it chilled.

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