Pimento Cheese Ball
This southern favorite, often referred to as “the caviar of the South”, makes the perfect alternative to offering a selection of cheeses as it can be paired with crackers, vegetables and charcuterie. A pimento cheese ball is much like pub cheese’s cousin in that it is spreadable and loaded with additional fillings such as dill pickles and bacon. While classic pimento cheese contains little more than pimento peppers, cheese and mayonnaise, this is meant to resemble more of a dip. In my recipe the cheese and peppers are combined with cream cheese so that it holds together better and is then rolled in chopped pecans.
The pimento cheese ball is for dinner parties because it can be made so far in advance.
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
¾ cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon Tabasco® or hot sauce of choice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 (4-ounce) jar pimento peppers, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons crumbled cooked bacon
1 medium dill pickle, minced
¼ teaspoon cayenne
2 cups chopped pecans
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment process the cream cheese, butter, Monterey jack cheese and cheddar cheese until smooth. Add the hot sauce, mustard, pimentos, bacon, pickle and cayenne, continuing to pulse until combined.
Line a small bowl with plastic wrap and scrape the cream cheese mixture into the bowl. Gather the plastic wrap around the cream cheese then use your hands to form the mixture into a ball. Chill until firm, at least 3 hours.
When ready to serve, add the pecans to a shallow bowl. Roll the cheese ball in the pecans to coat. Serve with an assortment of crackers and vegetables.