Pimento cheese is having a moment. Across the country I’m seeing it on menus, and recipes are popping up everywhere from the New York Times to A Taste of Home and beyond.
Chefs with southern roots have added it to their menus to great applause, including Seattle’s own Edouardo Jordan of Junebaby, his award winning restaurant in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood. Jordan himself was awarded Best Chef of the Northwest by the James Beard Foundation in 2018. He sells his amazing pimento cheese under his Food with Roots label at Whole Foods locations in Seattle. I can’t get enough of it. If you haven’t tried it yet, trust me. Just buy it.
I suspect that as more black chefs such as Jordan receive the recognition they deserve from the food and beverage industry, we’ll see a lot of Southern favorites turned into something they weren’t before: trendy.
He inspired me to try my own hand at a cheese and pimento concoction that reflects my own roots by adding some Mamma Lil’s Hungarian peppers to the mix. Jalapeño is the pepper of choice to add kick to Jordan’s pimento cheese, as well as many commercial brands. But I find using a preserved spicy red pepper such as Mama Lil’s* or Calabrian peppers from Italy enhances the pimento flavor, giving a nice sweet heat balance to the spread.
I offer here a mild and a spicy version of pimento cheese spread. I use a food processor, but you don’t need one. Grate your cheese on a box grater and use a spoon to mix the ingredients together by hand. This will result in a chunkier texture than the food processor.
Who’s ready to start entertaining again? I know I am. Pimento cheese is a great thing to serve with drinks. Cheers!!
Mild Pimento Cheese**
- 4 ounces Beecher’s flagship cheese***.
- 2 tablespoons Veganaise.
- 1/2 shallot, diced.
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce.
- 1 ounce of jarred diced pimentos, drained.
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder.
- pinch of salt.
- freshly cracked pepper to taste.
- Grate the cheese using a box grater or your food processor.
- Empty the cheese from the food processor into a bowl. Remove the grating disk. Place the blade into the bowl.
- Return the cheese to the food processor.
- Add all other ingredients. Pulse until combined and desired texture is reached. Taste and adjust seasonings. Pulse again to combine.
- Scoop into a serving bowl or a jar and store in the fridge.
Spicy Pimento Cheese
For a spicy version use the above ingredients, but reduce Worcestershire sauce to 1/4 teaspoon. Add 2-3 teaspoons of drained diced Calabrian peppers or Mama Lil’s. If you don’t have a food processor, you’ll have to dice the Mama Lil’s by hand. Pulse or stir to combine and serve.
*Mama Lil’s is a Portland based company selling jars of amazing things across the Pacific Northwest and online at https://mamalils.com
**Tastes nothing like Edourado Jordan’s. Still good, though.
***Beecher’s is a Seattle based cheese company whose products are sold at a variety of national retail chains. https://www.beechershandmadecheese.com