27 March 2010

Pimento Cheese (Pimiento Cheese)

Pimento Cheese / www.delightfulrepast.com

Pimento Cheese (pimento is pronounced puh-MIN-uh, by the way) is an iconic Southern food that's been around for over a hundred years, but my Southern grandmother never mentioned it; I had to learn it on my own! There are many variations, but it's basically shredded sharp or medium Cheddar (I always use Tillamook), mayonnaise and pimientos. I think it would be delicious on a hamburger, hot dog or bacon sandwich; but it's usually just slapped on some soft white bread for a quick sandwich, cold or toasted. Apparently, you can also stuff celery with it, spread it on crackers or dip tortilla chips in it.

It must, or so I'm told, be made with real mayonnaise. Many Southern cooks swear by Duke's mayonnaise, but I have to make do with Best Foods/Hellman's. Duke's is still made in Greenville, South Carolina, and sold throughout the South. I suppose the rest of us could do mail-order if we wanted to be sticklers for authenticity!

Purists may not add anything to the basic ingredients, but I couldn't resist a little dill pickle and dill pickle juice along with black pepper and a pinch of cayenne. And I think next time I'll throw in a few chopped green olives. You can add red wine vinegar or Tabasco. I'm a huge fan of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, so I might have to give that a try in the next batch. Some like it blended smooth, but I'm among those who prefer it a little chunky.

This afternoon I spread a thin layer on Oroweat Country Buttermilk bread, topped it with another slice, trimmed off the crusts and cut it into tiny tea sandwiches to go with a pot of Earl Grey tea. Another Delightful Repast! I'd love to hear your thoughts on pimento cheese.

Update 12/07/16: For how to throw an afternoon tea party and a roundup of afternoon tea recipes, see Afternoon Tea Party Tips.

Pimento Cheese (Pimiento Cheese)

(Makes 3 cups)

1 pound medium or sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 4-ounce jar pimientos, drained and diced
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped dill pickle
2 tablespoons dill pickle juice
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In 2-quart bowl, stir together all ingredients until well blended. Transfer to serving bowl and cover. Chill for a few hours or up to one week. Serve with crackers, tortillas chips, bread or celery sticks.


crindibindi said...

oo this was really delicious except i used jarred jalapenos and their juice instead of teh dill! thanks for the recipe - i think i'll be using this a lot for quick lunches!

Jean said...

Thank you! Since a batch keeps in the refrigerator for up to a week, you can have a PC sandwich for lunch every day--it's kind of addictive!

Vienna said...

Hi Jean, thank you so much for finding TinyTestKitchen and my pimento cheese recipe. I am so sorry it has taken me a little while to see your site. I am so glad I have! I have already found a couple of recipe that I want to try.

As I am English, I am intrigued by your site. What is your connection with England and all the British recipes? Are you English as well?

Very best, Vienna

Jean said...

Yes, Vienna, the "whilst" gave you away! My mother's family is English. My father's too, but long ago -- his mother's family landed in Virginia and his father's family in Plymouth (came on the Mayflower).

Daniel Hilliard said...

I love this stuff:) I havent had it since I left Florida

Jean said...

Well, Daniel, you just need to whip up a batch. My husband isn't a fan, so I get to have it all to myself. One batch will last me all week!

Marc Frederic said...

Ooh, yum yum, cheese butty's, oops sorry must call it a sandwich, as it's had it's crust taken off.

Ooh, look at that in the sky, waving and pointing my finger, your'e looking right? good I've just eaten another one. Don't tell Jean!

Jean said...

Thanks for stopping by, Marc! These are brilliant with a good strong cup of tea. Wish I had some right now.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog, Jean. I came accross it in search for Outstanding in the Field, which you posted about in May 2011. I have been wanting to go to one of their dinners for awhile. Love your pimento cheese recipe. I am not from the South, but love most things Southern, including Pimento Cheese. My friends in AL make theirs with grated Velveeta for the cheese, which is actually really good. Any chance you have a smoked tuna dip recipe? That is a very Southern appetizer too, that I have had made by the same friends. Thanks so much.

Leslie Andren

Jean said...

Leslie, thanks so much! I'm so glad you found my blog! I'll have to look into this smoked tuna dip--I've never heard of it. Sounds interesting. Thanks for the tip.

Linda Jennings said...

Every southern cook has a version of pimiento cheese. Mine has sweet pickle juice and chopped sweet pickles where yours has dill. My friend Patty puts Italian Seasoning in her recipe, and my friend Karla puts a noticeable amount of sugar in hers, and I love the warm pimiento cheese dip in Asheville, NC. I bet there are entire books of only Southern pimiento cheese recipes.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Linda, thank you so much for commenting! I bet I'd like your version with the sweet pickles and juice, too. And I bet you're right about there being entire books devoted to this one food!

Margie said...

My parents LOVE pimiento. Turns out we've been mispronouncing pimiento all this time. Ha!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Well, Margie, when I make pimiento cheese, I just *have* to pronounce it like a Southerner: puh-MIN-uh!

Bernideen said...

Thanks for sharing this recipe Jean. Always a welcomed sandwich for Afternoon Tea.! Thanks for sharing.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Bernideen. I'm gearing up to do an afternoon tea for a couple of friends. Though, truth be told, right now I'd rather go to someone else's!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jean,

I saw your link at Bernideen's and had to come right over to see how you make it! I had Pimiento cheese, not homemade but from a jar, often as a child and loved it. But when hubby and I got married, he didn't really want to try it and I didn't have the time then to cook anything that we both couldn't enjoy. But now he said he would love to try it! Oh what a difference 44 years of marriage has made! : )

He and I both had our childhood homes about 20 miles from Tillamook, Oregon so Tillamook cheese is always in our refer! Isn't it good! And with the homemade mayo recipe from you... this recipe should be especially good.

Thanks for all your tasty ideas!


Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Lily, isn't it wonderful that these guys can surprise us with a little change after so many years?! I know exactly what you mean about stages of life when you only have time to make something you both like. Do let me know how you both like it!

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