Pimento Cheese is Popping Up Everywhere!

   According to Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays (Being Dead is No Excuse, “The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect”), pimento cheese is the paste that holds the South together. But, it seems to be a favorite just about anywhere these days.
     Over the years I’ve made lots of different recipes – from what I’d call the “purist” version -- just grated cheese, pimentos and homemade mayo to my sister-in-law’s rendering that contains grated onions and cottage cheese.
     Tasted this particular recipe at the home of a friend; she found it in the Salina Journal. I made it and Barry pronounced it, “Delicious!” What makes this one unusual is the addition of minced garlic and dill pickle juice and, that requires a warning – allow the mixture to age (as in overnight) so the flavors meld (if you taste it immediately after mixing – the garlic and pickle juice will be somewhat overpowering).

Pimento Cheese     Yields approximately 3 cups  (I cut the recipe in half for just the two of us)
1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 to 2 tablespoons finely minced onions (this was my addition)
6 tablespoons mayonnaise+ (I added more to make it creamy)
2 tablespoons dill pickle brine

1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco®)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (this was my addition)
½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper, or use red pimentos from a jar, drained (I used jarred roasted red peppers)

1 lb. Cheddar cheese, finely grated (I used sharp Cheddar and grated it from a block)

1.  Mix together garlic, onions, mayonnaise, pickle brine, mustard, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt and black pepper in medium bowl.
2.  Stir in red peppers and cheese. Mix well.
For a direct connection to the original recipe from the Scripps Howard News Service, click here.

One of the things I like best about pimento cheese is that it is so versatile. Here’s some of our favorite ways to use it . . .
·      ***Serve it as a spread w/ crackers.

·     ***Use it to stuff celery (this is a favorite from my childhood).
·     *** Spread it on a corn muffin.
·     *** Use it to make tea sandwiches.
·     ***Or, use it to make Pimento Grilled Cheese sandwiches (this recipe also appeared in the Salina Journal article) . . .

Pimento Grilled Cheese Sandwiches    Yields 4 sandwiches
¾ cup pimento cheese (recipe above)

½ cup coarsely chopped celery
 (I cut it into small pieces)
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

8 slices bread (original recipe called for brioche; I used multi-grain)

1.  In medium bowl mix together pimento cheese and celery.
2.  To assemble, spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. Place 4 slices of bread, buttered side down, on work surface. Spread cheese mixture on bread. Top with remaining bread slices, buttered side up.
3.  Heat skillet over medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Put sandwiches into pan, cover and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until undersides are golden brown. Turn sandwiches, pressing each one firmly with spatula to flatten slightly.
4.  Cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes until undersides are well browned. Remove cover, turn sandwiches one more time and press firmly with spatula. Cook until cheese is warmed through completely and bread is crisp.
5.  Remove from pan and let cool 5 minutes. Cut in half and serve.

Or, try our recipe for Pimento Cheese Pinwheel Biscuits.

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