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
- 1 pound cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 can of Ro-Tel, drained
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 Serrano chiles, seeded and finely diced
- Salt, black pepper and cayenne to taste
Mix all ingredients together and chill for a few hours.