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Southern Pimento Cheese

Fried Chicken, Sweet Tea, Barbecue, Catfish, and Grits— are all some examples of true Southern culinary icons. Which brings me to two of my favorite words “comfort” and “food.” Put them together and it’s magic, just like the simple blend of cheese, mayonnaise and sweet peppers known across the South as pimento cheese.

Like most Southerners, I grew up with pimento cheese spread — from the processed stuff sold in supermarkets to the wonderful, chunky and flavorful varieties made at home. The popularity of this unique spread remains largely confined to the states below the Mason-Dixon line, where it assumes its place as a Southern delicacy. But you don’t have to travel down South to enjoy some authentic pimento cheese. Its basic ingredients are readily available everywhere, and it’s a cinch to make. With it only taking 15 minutes or less to make, why not whip up a batch today?

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, soften
  • 4 ounces vermont extra sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 ounces monterey jack cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 (4 ounce) jar of pimentos, drained and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon Porter House Seasoning, recipe follows
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 dash hot sauce (or more!)

Instructions

1. Using a hand held mixer, beat cream cheese until soft.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until creamy and combined.
3. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour.
4. Serve as a dip or as a sandwich filling.

Porter House Seasoning

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup onion powder

1. Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Mac & Cheese Bake

Whats more soulful than a heaping of mac & cheese. Old school baked that is and here in the Porter House it’s a tried and true staple. Anytime we can have it. We make it. It’s just that popular. I believe it’s one of the most requested. It’s a great accompliment to the main course but good enough to stand alone. Behold the POWER of cheese.

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray or butter
  • 16 oz cooked elbow macaroni or shells
  • One 12-oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick ) of butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of dry mustard
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 10-oz Cabot Seriously Sharp Yellow Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 10-oz Cabot Seriously Sharp White Cheddar Cheese, grated

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Cook macaroni or shells according to the directions on the box. Drain and set aside.

Butter or spray a 13 x 9 casserole dish. Next mix the cooked macaroni or shells, evaporated milk, whole milk, butter, salt, pepper, and dry mustard together. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and slowly add 1/4 cup of the macaroni mixture (this is to temper the eggs). Now combine the egg mixture to the macaroni mixture. Next add all of the grated white cheddar cheese and mix. Pour macaroni and cheese mixture in the greased casserole dish and evenly sprinkle all of the yellow cheddar cheese over the top. Place in oven and bake for 50 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

*Chef’s Note: BYOC (Be Your Own Chef) and use what ever cheese you like. If you don’t like Sharp Cheddar use Mild Cheddar. Or Provolone. Or Gruyere. Or whatever floats your boat. The options are endless.