For my first recipe in the “Hand Project” I thought I would go with something simple but delicious. The purpose of this project is to take the recipes given to me by my Grandmother (via my Aunt Beverly. Hi Aunt Bev-Love you!) and re-create each one and share them here.
My plan is to stick to the recipe as close as possible, but I may change them here and there to either make them a teenie bit healthier (only if I can keep the integrity of the recipe intact) or make them fit into our lifestyle. I will also make sure to include any changes I mak to the original recipe, via notation. Okay, enough housekeeping back to the cheese baby.
This is one of those recipes that really gets my memories going. My Grandmother used to make the BEST pimento cheese. We would sit at the table and spread it on crackers while sipping glass-bottled Coke (with peanuts of course). There are a few recipes that just scream “Hand Family”. When I think of us, this is definitely one of them. I didn’t actually have the written recipe on this one so I am going by memory.
I have tried tweaks here and there over the years. I will admit that I have used pre-shredded cheese several times. It tastes okay but the consistency just doesn’t work. I think the anti-clumping additive that is in the pre-shredded kind keeps the mayonnaise from sticking the correct way. I also like the way that when you shred your own cheese the actual shred is thinner. So, when you stir it all together some of the pieces break up and mush (technical term) with one another to create a really good spread. As opposed to the pre-shredded kind, where if you like to put the finished product on say Wheat Thins (that is my favorite way to eat it), the shreds of cheese hang off the sides of the cracker and fall off when you take a bite. No bueno. Don’t get me wrong, if I’m short on time (or motivation) I will definitely skip shredding on my own, but it really makes a big difference. Break out the shredder. Do it.
I also tried adding cream cheese once. Meh. It just adds bulk without flavor. It is good if you are looking for more of a spreadable, cheese-ball-type consistency, but I don’t like to take away from the sharp flavor of the cheese and I tend to like mine a little more mayo-y.
The addition that I have made recently that I will definitely be keeping is Wickles Pickles. So here is the thing with these pickles. They are so great. They are similar to a bread and butter pickle but the are spicy! The heat is just enough to add great flavor without being painful. My husband and I are fans of their sandwich relish too, but the pickles are perfect for this and really put it over the top. I used to spread my pimento cheese on a cracker and just put a pickle on top like a little hat and it was great. But then I got hungry and the hungrier I get the lazier I am. So I decided to cut the Wickles up and incorporate them into the pimento cheese. Mind blown. So good. I’m not sure my Grandmother would like the addition as she wasn’t a real fan of super-spicy. If you aren’t a fan either, I would suggest trying just plain bread and butter pickles, but make the hats first to see if you like it, then stir it in if you do!
**Now the servings depend on what you want to do with this. We normally just make ours to put in a container and use over the course of a few days on crackers, dipped with raw veggies, etc. If you want to make grilled cheese sandwiches out of them (I would definitely recommend that-not even joking, so good) the servings will change a bit. Obv.
Pimento Cheese Recipe
Total Time: 20 minutes
Number of servings: 4
- 1 8 oz block of Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- 1/3 cup Mayonnaise
- 1/4 tsp Paprika
- 1 4oz jar diced pimientos
- 1/4 cup Wickles Pickles
- Salt and Pepper to taste
I use full-fat for this but you can use light
- I use my handy box grater and shred the block of cheese over a plate. I’m weird and like it when the cheese comes all the way to the top of the inside of the grater and then falls everywhere when I take it off. Mature, I know. My kids like it because the cheese that falls off the plate is fair game.
- Next I put the cheese in a mixing bowl. I don’t shred over the bowl because my knuckles always hit the sides and it is annoying. Once the cheese is in the bowl I add the pimientos. I usually drain half the liquid from the jar before adding. Mix that up and then add in the mayonnaise. At this point it is about stirring and sprinkling. I then add the paprika (not sure if this was in the original recipe, I think it is an addition but it works.), salt and pepper and mix everything until combined.
- You can serve immediately but I recommend refrigerating for at least an hour so the pimento flavor is there. I store mine in an airtight container for up to a week and just use (remember the Wheat Thins?) as needed.