Makes about 3 cups.
Pimento cheese is a treat that’s especially beloved down South. It makes a mean cheese sandwich, is mighty fine on a hamburger, and is right at home served with crackers or crudités. Our version gets its rich flavor from Chili Today and smoked paprika.
8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1 clove garlic, mashed or grated
2½ teaspoons Chili Today
½ teaspoon (heaping) smoked paprika
2 teaspoons champagne vinegar
½ cup diced, roasted red pepper*
½ cup good, store-bought mayonnaise
Black pepper to taste
Grate the cheddar cheese on the large holes of a box grater into a mixing bowl. Add the cream cheese, broken into chunks, then add the remaining ingredients. Beat with an electric mixer (or by hand) until well combined and you can’t see any distinct chunks of cream cheese. Taste and add more vinegar or Chili Today, if desired.
Transfer the pimento cheese to a container with a tight-fitting lid. Chill for at least two hours before serving. Tightly covered, pimento cheese will keep for more than a week in the fridge.
*Jarred red peppers are fine, here. Just make sure that they’re well drained.
Chili Today is a house-made chili powder. It’s a complex, yet subtle, combination of fruity ancho and smoky Urfa chilies ground with paprika, ginger, cinnamon, Mexican oregano, onion, cumin, garlic, and long pepper.