Thursday, January 3, 2013

"Not Your Granny's" Pimento Cheese with Pickled, Roasted Red Peppers, Candied Jalapenos, Green Onion, Crispy Bacon, & Toasted Pecans

"Not Your Granny's" Pimento Cheese with Pickled, Roasted Red Peppers, Candied Jalapenos,
Green Onion, Crispy Bacon, & Toasted Pecans
Do y'all love Pimento Cheese as much as me? I mean, I know if you're a Southerner, then you most certainly do. It doesn't matter how it's served to me, I want it. It makes a sandwich better, apparently it also makes shrimp & grits better too. But ya know, sometimes old classics need some jazzin' up, especially when you have company over. We made this three times in December... all for holiday parties, and it was a hit every time. Now, I'm sure you have a family recipe that has been handed down to you and never fails, but I'm telling you... this ain't your granny's pimento cheese. Why? Because it has pickled roasted red peppers, candied jalapenos, green onion, crispy bacon, toasted pecans, and a big ole' scoop of bacon jam on top. This dip is a meal on its' own and every time you take a bite, you get a different surprise. And hey, if you don't have a certain ingredient, you can always substitute it with something else!! We served this chunky pimento cheese with toasted cornbread and Frito's (we like the big scoop kind, so we can get a heaping spoonful in our mouth), but it was also great as a grilled cheese the next day. The bacon jam is optional, but I definitely recommend it because I'm tellin' you everyone will be fighting over it. And if you don't want to make a batch of bacon jam, serve it alongside some strawberry preserves... I know that might sound bizarre, but it is absolutely delish that way as well. So, maybe it isn't your granny's heirloom recipe; however, it might be your new favorite party dip!! Enjoy :)
A Big Ole' Scoop of Bacon Jam
For the Loaded Pimento Cheese:
4oz Cream Cheese, Softened
½C Mayo + ½C Sour Cream
¼t Garlic Powder, Pepper, & Paprika
1T Hot Sauce (or to taste)
1t Worcestershire
8oz Pepperjack Cheese, Shredded  
8oz White Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
8oz Sharp Yellow Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
1C Marinated or Pickled Roasted Red Peppers, Diced
½C Candied Jalapenos, Diced
5-6 Green Onions, Thinly Sliced
8 Strips of Applewood Smoked Bacon, Cooked until Crispy & Chopped into Bacon Bits
½C Pecans, Toasted & Coarsely Chopped
Salt & Pepper, To Taste
Homemade Bacon Jam, For Serving (optional)
Strawberry Preserves, For Serving (optional)
Toasted Bread, Frito's Scoops, or Crackers, For Dipping

1. In a big mixing bowl, mix together the cream cheese, mayo, sour cream, garlic powder, pepper, paprika, hot sauce, and Worcestershire. 
2. Separately, shred the three blocks of cheese and put in the bowl with the seasoned creamy mixture. (I use the normal shredding side because I like it more that way for this dip). Toss the mixture together until the mayo is covering all of the cheese. 
3. Add in the marinated roasted red peppers, candied jalapeno, green onions, bacon bits, and toasted pecans. Toss until it’s evenly incorporated. 
4. Season the dip with any additional seasonings if needed. Refrigerate until ready to use, but let it come to room temperature before serving, so that it is easier to spread on the crackers.
5. Garnish the top of the pimento cheese with some Homemade Bacon Jam or Strawberry Preserves and serve with some Frito's for dipping. 

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