|Chipotle Pimento Cheese (processed in a food processor for a spreadable consistency)|
In college, I was fortunate to have the means and opportunity to spend several summers studying in the small state of Guanajuato in central Mexico. And while the old Mexican grandmothers in Guanjuato make some fantastic tortillas and mole, their real culinary triumph is the bolillo.
|Bolillos in Mexico (photo courtesy of wikipedia.org)|
Similar to small individually portioned baguettes, these little morsels of heaven have a light, fluffy interior with a hard crusty outer shell that explodes upon first bite. These perfect examples of regionalized French cooking are frequently served in restaurants with a spicy and lightly tinted sauce that pleasantly warms your mouth and leaves you wanting more.
Every time I would visit, I would have this sauce and ask the waitstaff how to prepare it. They would always come back with a long list of ingredients and preparation techniques that at the time I was unfamiliar with. Finally, I gave up and relegated it a back of mind where it would wait undisturbed for 3 years.
Fast forward 3 years...in an attempt to elevate ordinary fat-free Greek yogurt I added a few drops of chipotle hot sauce when it dawned on me; IT WAS ADOBO AIOLI! So I grabbed a can of chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, some mayonnaise, and my handy stick blender and 30 seconds later had a sauce fitting a bolillo. The only problem was I didn't have a bolillo.
Now in the South, every home cook know how to make at least two things: grits and pimento cheese. The later is nothing more than mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, pimentos, and a proprietary blends of spices. And so my rendition of a Very Deep South pimento cheese was born from a need to use that absolutely delicious adobo aioli.
|Pimento cheese on crackers, pictured with a thicker consistency (photo courtesy of wikipedia.org)|
*when preparing this dish it can be processed in a food processor for a more even and spreadable consistency ideal for crackers, or it can be simply mixed and retain its "chunkiness" which is perfect for a more hearty sandwhich.
-2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
-2/3 cup mayo
-1 lb. finely shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
-1 lb. shredded pepper jack cheese
-4 oz. cream cheese
-6 oz. pimentos in juice
-1 small can green chilies (optional)
-1/4 tsp. garlic powder
-1/2 tsp. onion powder
-1/2 tsp. black pepper (or to taste)
Puree the chipotle chilies until they are a finely ground, uniform consistency. Combine with the mayo (you could stop here and a have a great sauce perfect for dinner rolls).
Combine the remainder of ingredients. Mix until the desired consistency is reached. For a more uniform and spreadable texture, consider lightly combine in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to combine.
Serve on bread, toast, celery, crackers, hamburgers, bacon, tortillas, pizza, fried green tomatoes, ice cream... Really anything you can think of!
Eat good food. Drink good beer. And above all, stay classy!