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I remember eating pimento cheese as a child, the kind that comes in a tub from the dairy section, but it didn’t really come into it’s own with me until I moved south. I first rediscovered it when I lived in Knoxville, TN but it became a serious thing when I moved down to Georgia.
There are so many great brands out there in the markets here in the south, but it is so easy to make and tastes so much better when you make it fresh. You control what goes in and tailor it to your tastes.
I recently came across this Cabot Habanero Cheddar cheese back in the summer when I used it to make my brother in law a poblano cheese soup, which I still need to get a post up for, but that’s another story. I have been using this in everything.
Buy a block of cheese and shred it yourself, it really makes a difference, and it honestly does not add that much time to your prep. For 8 ounces I use a simple old fashioned box grater. If I was making a large amount for a party or gathering I might break out the food processor, but who wants to clean that.
The Philadelphia cream cheese is also another must have in my book. I cannot ever remember another brand ever being in our house growing up and I am not about to start now. As with anything else you get what you pay for, enough said.
This is probably the most contentious ingredient, everyone has their favorite depending on where you live and or grew up. Growing up we always used Hellmann’s, that is what was around in WV. Since moving south and gaining access to Duke’s, it’s my go to, it just has a twang, that I feel that you don’t get in the others.
Use what you like and this will come out great, if you want the same taste I got use the Duke’s. These are just recipe guidelines, don’t be afraid to do you when it comes to food, only then will you truly find out what you really like.
Making the Pimento Cheese
Now the fun part, let’s put it all together. First let your cream cheese come to room temperature. If not you won’t get the mix of flavors. You can mix this by hand if you want or don’t have a stand mixer. I like to to use my stand mixer for this one. I use the paddle attachment on my Kitchenaid.
Grate the Cheese. It seems funny as I write this post, I don’t mind cleaning the stand mixer but I didn’t want to clean the food processor. I used the old fashioned box grater. Whatever floats your boat works here, just make sure to buy the block and grate it, definitely makes a diffference.
Put the softened cream cheese into the stand mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment and give it a good mix to loosen up the cheese. Add in the 1/2 cup of mayonnaise and mix until is is well incorporated with the cream cheese. If you don’t have a stand mixer this one is totally doable by hand mixing with a wooden spoon.
Add the Southwest All Purpose Spice Blend and pimentos and mix until really incorporated. Add in the grated cheese and give it a few spins at very low speed just to mix, you don’t want to break down the cheese too much. It really should be the star of the dish.
Put it into a container and refrigerate for at least one hour but up to twelve before you use it. This gives it time for all of those flavors to really mix together.
So I rarely have leftovers but this will easily keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two weeks. It doesn’t freeze well but you can freeze it for up to thee months. I would only use it as part of a recipe when freezing and it needs to thaw completely prior to using.
What to put it on?
- Pimento Cheese Sandwich
- Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Pimento Cheese Poppers
- Buttery Crackers
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Southwest Spicy Pimento Cheese
- 2 Cups Habanero Cheddar Cheese 8 oz block I used Cabot Brand (Grate it your self)
- 8 Ounces Cream Cheese I use Philadelphia brand let it come to room temp
- 1/2 Cup Pimento Jared
- 1/2 Cup Mayonaise In my house it has to be Duke's
- 1 Tsp Southwest All Purpose Spice Blend I use Neil Sarap Southwest AP
Let the cream cheese to come to room temperature so that is will easily mix and combine with the rest of the ingredients. Place it into the bowl of a stand mixer. You can absolutely mixed it by hand if you done have a stand mixer. While the cream cheese is coming to room temperature shred the Habanero Cheddar. You can do this with an old fashioned box grater or use a food processor to make quick work of it.
Add in the Mayonnaise and mix until well incorporated and blended. Add the pimentos and Southwest All Purpose Seasoning (optional) and mix well.
Stop the the mixer and add in the shredded cheese and just give it a few spins on the lowest speed. You don't want to break down the shredded cheese. It should be the star of the dish. Place into a covered dish and refrigerate for at least an hour up overnight before using to allow the flavors to marry.
The Southwest AP is optional but it adds a wonderful bit of spice to the taste that I really love. It is a go to spice/rub for me as it goes with everything southern. You can get it at neilsarap.com and if you use Discount Code"Greg" you can get 15% off your entire order. It is a great all purpose Spice blend and BBQ rub.