Having moved around quite a bit in my life I’ve had the opportunity to experience a variety of American regional food specialties. This lively cheese spread, from the Southern states is one of my favorites.
Pimento cheese, or “pimentacheese” as I often heard it pronounced, most frequently shows up as a sandwich filling on soft white bread for school lunches. When I crave it, it’s usually as a topping for bagels, a filling for an omelet, or my favorite, as a substitute for sliced cheese on a thick, juicy grilled burger.
When it’s football season, especially around the holidays when I need to take something to a party, I make a batch of this and serve it as a spread for crackers or bruschetta instead of the usual cheese ball or guacamole.
Each household in the South has their own variation of the recipe for pimento cheese, some use cream cheese or Velveeta cheese. This version is often found in older Southern cookbooks and is my favorite. You may recognize the first six ingredients in this recipe for something very close to Miracle Whip.
1 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp. butter
½ lb. grated sharp cheddar cheese
¼ lb grated American cheese
¼ lb grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 (4-ounce) jar chopped pimentos, undrained
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2-3 dashes hot pepper sauce (Frank’s or Texas Pete)
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine first six ingredients in a small saucepan; cook over low heat until thickened, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and set aside to cool until still warm, until a finger can be poked into the mixture comfortably. Pour over cheese and mash to blend ingredients. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Place in a bowl and chill well before serving. Store in refrigerator.