Friday, February 13, 2009

Southern Pimiento Cheese

Whether you call them "pimientos" or "pimentos," they are the key flavoring ingredient in this really yummy and versatile Southern cheese spread. Try it in a sandwich on plain bread, use wheat or rye bread to make tea sandwiches, or make a grilled pimiento cheese sandwich to have with your tomato soup. Put a dollop of creamy pimiento cheese on your next steak or burger for an extra burst of flavor. Slather it on celery or cucumber boats for snacking. Serve it with crackers, pita or bagel chips when your friends stop by.

There are as many versions of Southern Pimiento Cheese as there are Southern cooks; this is my favorite and was given to me by my friend and neighbor, Anne McManus, who used to bring it to the office for a special treat.

Southern Pimiento Cheese

1 (8 oz.) block extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 (2 oz.) jar chopped pimientos, undrained
3/4 c. Kraft Real Mayonnaise (not salad dressing)
1/8 tsp. coarsely ground blacky pepper
6 generous dashes McIlhenny Tabasco pepper Sauce

Finely shred the cheese (or purchase it pre-shredded) and combine with remaining ingredients. Chill for at least an hour to blend flavors before serving. Note: Feel free to adjust the ingredients to your taste. I always double this recipe, and I like lots of black pepper and heat so I add more pepper and Tabasco, too.

Bon App├ętit!
Chef Debbie

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