Pimento Cheese
Pimento Cheese

The Southern dip known as pimento cheese might look like processed snack food, but when you make it from scratch you’ll instantly get its boldly cheesy appeal. The version we’re making for this holiday season comes from chef Mark Steuer, who relies on time-tested techniques, mild cheddar cheese and fresh herbs to re-create the dish at his Chicago restaurant, Carriage House. At home, we tweaked Steuer’s recipe slightly by using light cream cheese and low-fat mayonnaise. The lighter spread is just as flavorful as the original and goes great with classic accoutrements like crackers and celery sticks.

Makes approximately 2¼ cups
Start to Finish: 30 minutes

Ingredients

2½ cups finely grated mild cheddar cheese

½ cup light cream cheese

¼ cup light mayonnaise

½ sweet onion, such as Vidalia, minced (about ½ cup)

½ cup finely chopped pimentos

½ jalapeño, seeded and minced

¼ cup chopped roasted jarred red bell peppers

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt

Tabasco sauce

Directions

1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the cheddar cheese with the cream cheese and pulse until thoroughly combined. Gradually add the mayonnaise, pulsing until combined and scraping down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

2. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Gently fold in the onion, pimentos, jalapeño, red bell peppers, chives and parsley. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and Tabasco. Cover and chill for 1 hour before serving with desired accompaniments.

Finishing Touches

It's the details that count! Try these tips

  • Stop by Carriage House next time you’re in Chicago.

  • The spread will keep in the fridge for about one week to 10 days.

  • Use leftovers in a grilled pimento cheese sandwich. We like this version from Tasting Table.

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