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Monday, August 5, 2013

Pimento Cheese Burgers

pimento is a variety of large, red, heart-shaped chili pepper that measures 3 - 4 inches long and 2 - 3 inches wide. The flesh of the pimiento is sweet, succulent, and more aromatic than that of the red bell pepper.  So guess what?  We are just going to use roasted red bell peppers.  I adore roasted red bell peppers!  They are easy to find, add a ton of beautiful color, vibrant flavor, and are very nutritious!  

Pimento cheese is a favorite food here in the Southern part of the United States.  It is a spread or relish made with cheese, and has affectionately been called The caviar of The South. Pimento cheese is popular as a spread on crackers or celery, scooped onto tortilla chips, and can also be used to replace the sliced cheese in a grilled cheese sandwich.  The pimento cheese sandwich is a signature item as well as a time-honored ritual at the Masters Tournament, and apparently has been a staple item there for at least 45 years!!

Today, I'm going to top some hot-off-the-grill juicy burgers with this cheese spread decadence!  The heat from the grill will do it's magic, and the rest will be history as it starts to get all melty!

Pimento cheese is super easy to make and delivers big flavors!  It's also a low carb spread, so if you are concerned about that, this is a great recipe for you.  Obviously you wouldn't want to eat the buns, but could substitute a low carb flat bread or wrap, or eat it "bunless," or with raw veggies.

Click for Printable Recipe 

Pimento cheese spread - 
  • 3 oz reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated pepper jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp grated sweet onion
  • 3 - 4 Tbsp chopped roasted red peppers
  • black pepper, garlic powder, kosher salt to taste
Burgers - 
  • well... just make your burgers your favorite old way!  This post is mostly about making the pimento cheese and the concept of using it to top off a how burger.  
  • Here's what all I add:  kosher salt, black pepper, McCormick steak seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, eggs, Italian bread crumbs, a little milk, and a big handful of some crumbled bacon.
Sorry, but it's really this easy... mix all the ingredients together for the pimento cheese and let the flavors marry together for a few hours, or even overnight.  (Not that I have that much patience.)  Afterwards, add it to the top of a hot-off-the-grill burgers and enjoy!

Combine - 
3 oz reduced fat cream cheese
1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup grated pepper jack cheese
1/2 cup mayo

1 tsp grated sweet onion

I didn't want chunks of onion in my spread, only the flavor.  So grating them on the microplane accomplishes this for me.  You get just a tiny bit of the pulp/flesh.
3 -4 Tbsp chopped roasted red peppers
kosher salt
black pepper
garlic powder
Mix!  Now cover this and let it hang out in the fridge for a while... if you can.
So now, get your burgers ready!
As luck would have it, our grill died.  Yep.  Died.  So it'll have to be the grill pan tonight!
The grill pan works fine, but as you can see, there's no place for the grease to go.  So have some sort of receptacle available to pour it into.  I used an old milk jug with the top cut off.  

Here's where I can tell you that I prefer to use 85/15 or 80/20 for my burgers, so they will be juicy.  The usual "lean" beef that I use for other things will give you a drier burger.   
optional - I buttered the buns lightly before grilling them

About 20 minutes before you are ready, go ahead and take the pimento cheese spread out of the fridge so it can come to room temperature.  Cold cheese does not have much flavor.  Add the spread to the burgers when they are still hot - as in on the grill or still in the pan.

Tip - If you put your lettuce down first, this can help keep your bottom bun from getting soggy!
And here are some other ways you may enjoy it!
Straight up with raw veggies or crackers! (These are reduced fat Wheat Thins)

Perhaps as the filling for a deviled egg?  The egg-whites are pure protein!!

I hope you enjoyed this post!  Sometimes you just can't beat good old Southern food like this Pimento Cheese Spread!  If you did enjoy it, there are tons more recipes just waiting for you to discover them on my Recipe Index 
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