What's wrong with doctoring up the original pimento cheese? Nothing.
Pimento cheese is a very basic preparation. A canvas. Shredded cheddar, mayo, and chopped pimentos are all you really need. From there the sky's the limit. Experiment! I particularly like this smoky take on the classic. It's Meathead gone Mad. Back home, my neighbors would say I was puttin' on airs by fancifying the recipe. It's a bit more work, but I think it's worth it.
Fancified Smoked Pimento Cheese Recipe
Don't make the mistaking of thinking this recipe is heresy. Many Southerners "doctor" the original recipe to show their creativity and one up their neighbors. Nothing is more coveted than hearing someone across the room ask "Who made the PC?"
Course. Appetizer. Sandwich. Sauces and Condiments. Side Dish. Snack. Vegetable.
Makes. 10 sandwiches
Takes. 25 minutes to prep
4 ounces (1/2 block) cream cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese
8 ounces grill roasted red bell pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Morton’s coarse kosher salt (read more about the science of salt here)
About the red peppers. Pimentos are simply roasted red peppers. I think they taste best when roasted on the grill. But if you want a thrill, smoke the peppers first. You can use pimentos from a jar if you wish. A 4 ounce jar has about 3 ounces of pimento.
About the cheddar. You can substitute Mild Cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Colby for up to half the cheese if you wish.
About the cream cheese. You can use cream cheese in the brick form, or better still, use the spreadable version in a tub. It's easier to blend.
Optional mix-ins. Add a few tablespoons minced fresh onion, a chopped green jalapeño, a scoop of sweet pickle relish or minced dill peppers, finely chopped olives, chopped toasted pecans, herbs, curry powder, or celery seed. I like to add 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar reduced by half that I keep in a bottle for drizzling.
1) Prep. Mix the mayonnaise and cream cheese together in a bowl with a fork until thoroughly blended.
2) Grate the cheddar with the large holes of a box grater or put it into a food processor or blender and whack them into pea size bits. Add to the bowl and mix in.
3) Chop the roasted red bell pepper into 1/4" bits and add to the bowl.
4) Add the remaining ingredients and mix. Taste and adjust as you see fit. Chill for a few hours to let the flavors marry. Set out about 15 minutes before serving so it will soften a bit.
5) Serve. Serve it with crackers, as a sandwich, on a burger, and more.