Hatch chile pimento cheese
A friend in Southeast Texas was describing her pimento cheese, which was popular with her friends. “It always goes first at parties,” she said. She then began to divulge her secrets.
At first, hers sounded much like everyone else’s pimento cheese, which is typically a blend of shredded Cheddar, mayonnaise, and the jarred red Spanish peppers that give the spread its distinctive flavor and name.
Then she leaned in and told me her surprise ingredient. “I also add chopped pecans, and it takes it over the top.”
At first, I thought this sounded bizarre, but the more I pondered it, I came to understand that cheese and pecans make wonderful partners. I enjoy them together in biscuits and my cheese balls , so why not stir some into my pimento cheese? I vowed to try it the next time I made a batch.
A few months later, another friend in far West Texas also took the time to share her pimento cheese recipe, letting me know that it was the best. Again, at first, hers sounded much like everyone else’s with its standard blend of cheese, mayonnaise, and peppers.
Then she threw in her twist: she uses roasted long green chiles instead of jarred red pimentos. “It gives my pimento cheese an earthy kick,” she said.
I tried pimento cheese with the pecans, and I enjoyed its nutty crunch. I also tried swapping out the red jarred peppers for roasted Hatch, and again, the change was refreshing. But how would pimento cheese taste if I made a batch with both the pecans and the green chiles? I gave it a try.
For my base, I used sharp yellow Cheddar, Monterey Jack, grated onion, garlic, and mayonnaise. I chopped roasted chiles and pecans, and stirred them into the blend, along with a dash of Worcestershire and a bit of ground cumin and cayenne.
After chilling, the dip was savory, creamy, and nutty. While pimento cheese purists will surely scoff at this version, it’s good enough for company, though also welcome to enjoy it as a treat on your own.
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Hatch chile pimento cheese
- 4 ounces (1 cup) sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
- 4 ounces (1 cup) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- 1 teaspoon grated yellow onion
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 cup diced roasted Hatch chiles (3-4 long green chiles, roasted, peeled, and diced)
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- Pinch cayenne
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Crackers, for serving
- In a bowl, stir together the Cheddar, Monterey Jack, onion, garlic, chiles, pecans, cumin, cayenne, mayonnaise, lime juice, and Worcestershire sauce until well blended. Taste and add adjust seasonings and condiments, and add salt if desired.
- Refrigerate covered for at least an hour before serving. Serve chilled with crackers.
Bird Bakery adds pecans to their pimento cheese and it is an A+++ addition. Love it with the Hatch peppers too right now.
LaBa–It’s surprisingly good!
I made this recipe last week for a get together and it was devoured! Everyone loved it, my husband said “this recipe is a keeper!” I can’t wait to make this again next Hatch Chili season. I think it will become a new seasonal staple.
T–Wonderful news! I’m delighted that y’all enjoyed it so much!
My great aunt added a dash of curry to her pimento cheese. I don’t care for pimentos and use chopped green olives instead. I add toasted pecans, too. Can’t wait to try this recipe with hatch chilis!
Julie–I love your great-aunt’s addition of curry, and olive cheese with pecans also sounds delicious! I’ll have to try that!
There are no pimentos??
No, only Hatch chiles instead.