Quintessentially Southern Pimento Cheese

My family moved from the Boston suburbs to rural North Georgia when I was ten. I am told that my sister and I are still considered to be “GRITS” (Girls Raised In The South.) Growing up we ate more than our fair share of chicken-fried steak, fried okra, butter beans, biscuits with white gravy, boiled (pronounced “bowled”) peanuts, scuppernong juice, and of course shrimp and stone-cut grits. I have a sacred stash of secret recipes for red velvet cake, banana pudding, chess pie (no, it’s not a typo,) divinity and Vidalia onion casserole.

Photo Credit: David Hruska
My Southern affliction is never more obvious than the week before we are to visit my sister in the Midwest. The phone rings and I scribble down a grocery list of Southern delights: Duke’s Mayonnaise, Lance crackers, a couple cans of Glory collard greens, pork rinds, and Lookout Moon Pies.

Before our last trip, I made a last minute trip to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients for Pimento Cheese, a favorite Southern sandwich spread. Here’s the recipe from my stash:

1 pound sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
1 4-ounce jar of pimentos (actually spelled “pimientos”), drained
1/4 cup mayonnaise (I always use Duke's)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut all ingredients except the pimentos into large chunks. (The pimentos are already chopped.) Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse just long enough to roughly chop. You don't want to puree the ingredients, just make them pliable for the next step.

Put in large bowl and mix with mayonnaise. Refrigerate, but set out for 20 to 30 minutes before use. To serve, cut the crust off of white sandwich bread and layer cheese spread on bread about 1/2 inch thick and top with another slice of crustless bread. Cut the sandwich in triangles and served with an icy tumbler of sweet tea. Good eatin' y'all!