Tonight Dale decided he was going to cook up the rest of the ground beef from the other night’s lasagna into burgers. They were fantastic, too–onion, basil, oregano, and cheddar all mixed into the meat. It was sooo good! Since pimento cheese on a burger is something I’ve been really enjoying lately, my contribution to dinner was a combination of some of my favorite things: pimento cheese, bacon, and chipotle peppers. I’m definitely happy with how it turned out. Makes a lot of pimento cheese, but it beats the pants off the old church-picnic white-bread-sandwich kind I grew up with, and there’s really no excuse, as easy as it is to make, to ever buy it from the store.
Basic Pimento Cheese
1 1/2 c. grated sharp cheddar
1 1/2 c. grated extra sharp cheddar
1/3 c. mayonnaise
4 ounces (1/2 block) cream cheese
2 ounces (1/2 of a small jar) diced pimentos, drained
Extra stuff to make it awesome:
5 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (roughly 1/2 of a 7.5 ounce can)
4 strips of bacon, cooked
Now, the easiest way to do the basic version is to just put it all in the food processor and pulse lightly until it’s soft, spreadable, and mixed, but not pureed. When you start adding fancy ingredients, though, it takes a little more thought. I roughly chopped one of the chipotle peppers, added it, and tasted as I went to get a feel for how much pepper both of us actually wanted in it. We both like a lot of heat, so it ended up being half the can, but make sure you’re trying it before dumping that much into the mix. Once you’ve got it where you want it, put it out into a bowl, crumble in the bacon, and give it a good stir. Makes an epic boatload of pimento cheese–sandwiches forever! What you don’t use right away, keep in an airtight container in the fridge. It’s also great on celery, or the way one of the local expensive-burger restaurants does it, as a dip for potato chips.
This is incredibly easy, packs a lot of flavor, and leaves absolutely no reason to buy that processed artificially-orange crap in a plastic tub at the grocery store. And if you catch the cheese when it’s buy one, get one free, like we did, it’s not expensive at all to make and yields a lot more than you’d get in the tub.
You can also experiment with ways to make this your own. I’ve seen people put in sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, or pickled jalapenos (as opposed to the chipotles, which are smoked jalapenos), just to name a few. It’s a basic formula that you can tweak however you want, and that makes it so much fun!