The other day I tried to make my favorite pimento cheese recipe. It’s in the Lee Brothers cookbook, and it’s so much better than the gloopy mayonnaise version with jarred pimentos that I used to get after soccer games as a kid (in the South, there’s always time for a mayonnaise-based sandwich, even in 90-plus degree heat).
The only problem was that I forgot to buy the red bell pepper I needed. And these days, when I forget something at the store, there’s no quick popping out for 5 minutes anymore. Loading up the Gravy Baby and all his accroutrements requires at least 30 minutes, plus additional stopping time so that the squawking Chinese ladies at the market can coo over him. Luckily, I had some jalapenos on hand, so I blackened those. Oh, and I added a shot of bourbon. Because bourbon makes everything better.
- 4 whole jalapenos
- 8 ounces finely shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
- 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise (Hellman's, preferably; is there any other kind?)
- 1 shot (1.5 ounces) of good quality bourbon
- Place jalapenos under the broiler in oven.
- Flip the peppers with tongs after about two minutes to make sure the skin on all sides gets blackened evenly.
- Remove peppers from oven once they are completely blackened and immediately place in a heatproof bowl. Cover with a plate to steam; let peppers cool.
- While the peppers are cooling, stir the cream cheese and the mayonnaise.
- Remove peppers from bowl, reserving liquid, and peel skin off.
- Remove seeds and stem, then chop the remaining flesh into a small dice.
- Stir together the peppers, reserved pepper liquid, grated cheese and mayo/cream cheese combo until well blended.
- Add bourbon.
- Serve immediately with your favorite crackers or store up to a week tightly covered in the refrigerator (after chilling, bring to just below room temperature prior to serving).
- (Note: for regular pimento cheese spread, substitute the jalapenos with a medium-sized red bell pepper).