I love pimento cheese. It's a versatile spread that is also great on its own. And it's even better added to burgers, egg sandwiches and grilled cheese, smeared on pretzels or incorporated into dips.
Technique tip: Cheese should never be incorporated over high, direct heat. It will become grainy.
Swap option: If you're a vegetarian, you can use sautéed tofu or crumbled and sautéed cauliflower instead of ground beef.
Pimento cheese (makes about 2 cups)
- 6 tablespoons cream cheese, preferably Philadelphia
- 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon spicy hot paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, packed, preferably Wisconsin cheddar
- 1/2 cup finely diced pimento peppers
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon minced spicy pickles, preferably McClure's
- 1½ teaspoons pickle brine
Pimento chili cheese dip
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 ounces ground beef
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 cups pimento cheese spread (recipe above)
- 1/4 cup minced pepperoncini
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Fritos or tortilla chips
For the pimento cheese:
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, spicy hot paprika, ground black pepper and salt and mix on medium speed until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the grated cheddar, diced pimentos, minced spicy pickles and pickle brine.
For the pimento chili cheese dip:
In a large sauté pan over high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the ground beef to the pan and brown. Reduce heat to low, sprinkle the flour and chili powder into the pan and stir into the meat. Add the pimento cheese spread and continue stirring over low heat until the cheese is melted.Finally, stir in the minced pepperoncini. Serve warm with chips.