Back in August 2008, when this blog was in its infancy and I had just a fraction of the readers I enjoy today, I was lamenting the things I could easily find in Texas that were extremely scarce here in northeast Ohio, particularly in Podunk. At the top of the list were burgers from Dairy Queen (no burgers in Dairy Queen???), Dallas Cowboy paraphernalia, the Allman Brothers on the radio and this: good ol’ pimento cheese.
“I had clearly fallen into the Midwest version of the Black Hole of Calcutta. Civilization was but a distant memory,” I mourned.
I was ecstatic at the time because I’d found a recipe for it in Frank Stitt’s Southern Table, and the ingredients were easily found, even here in The Italian Food Capital of The Western Hemisphere. So I immediately made it. And the angels came forth and sang while I rejoiced, because it was surely the best pimento cheese I’d ever eaten.
I was so thrilled, as a matter of fact, that I immediately published the recipe as it was written in the cookbook, having found that it was already all over the internet, thus allying my fears of copyright infringement. (To this day, no one has come forth and asked me to remove it, so I’m guessing it’s all good.) But, like most recipes I make, it has been tweaked and fiddled with and while it’s more or less true to Miss Verba’s recipe, it is now something I am proud to call my own.
‘Cause it’s even better.
It makes a lot, and keeps well in the refrigerator, but I’m willing to bet you’ll never find out it’s shelf life – this stuff goes quickly. It is absolutely yummy on crackers, as you see here, and stuffed into celery and cherry tomatoes. And for my Southern readers, it makes one mean sammich.
Jan’s Pimento Cheese
serves Beloved during a Cowboy game
3 large red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped into a small dice
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, or other hot sauce
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, Miracle Whip, sugar, pepper and hot sauce, mixing well. Stir in the cheddar cheese until well combined, then gently fold in the chopped bell peppers.
Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving, unless your husband snatches the bowl out from under your nose as soon as you’ve finished mixing it; then you let him have it, throw a box of crackers at him and get out of his way.