Superbowl has come and gone and now and, as a Patriot's fan, and just a fan of football in general, what a game! We had a couple of friends over for some snacks that we made. We had all of the classics - buffalo chicken wings, guacamole, potato skins, and more. I wanted to share this recipe with you, it's something that Richard made on a whim one day and it seems lately, it's our go-to dip and was perfect to have out while game watching. We'll dunk chips into it or slather it onto crackers or it even finds its way into sandwiches or on top off eggs. Or we'll simplify it a bit and just dunk carrot sticks into it. There's really nothing this little dip can't do. And it's so, so, good...
Admittedly, it's not the most attractive of dips but don't let that detour you. The dip itself only takes about 15-20 minutes to make (and most of that time is waiting for the pepper to cool). It's also one of those dips that you really don't have to measure too closely because there's a lot of variations on this and it's more about preference. I like to make my dip so that it's got lots of cheese chunks and red pepper bits and I like lots of buffalo sauce in it. Richard likes to sometimes puree it into a more cohesive dip. It's all preference. We like to make it in big batches and then we just stash it into the fridge to have on hand for the week.
This is not a true pimento dip, sorry if the title offends pimento cheese die hards. For starters, there's no mayo in this dip. You certainly could use it instead of the Greek yogurt but I like the tang that the yogurt provides. I recommend using an extra sharp cheddar cheese. I like Cabot best because it has a great texture and the sharpness really shines. You just don't get the same punch with other less sharp cheeses. Also, for a fun twist, we like to switch up the peppers from time to time to give it a whole new flavor. Poblanos work really well in this recipe in place of, or in addition to the red pepper. Also, for a more tame version, you can leave out the buffalo sauce all together or just add as much as you like. Or, if you want to get all fancy pants, you can add some cooked and diced up little bits of chicken for a more ultimate version of this dip.
Buffalo "Pimento" Cheese
1 red pepper
1 - 6 oz. block of Seriously Sharp Cabot Cheddar Cheese (or other sharp cheddar)
1/4 cup buffalo sauce (your favorite brand)
2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt, Sour Cream, or Labneh
Salt, to taste
If you have a gas stove, place pepper on top of the burner and turn flame up to high. Char the outside of the pepper, flipping every couple of minutes with some metal tongs until consistently charred. Place pepper into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap until its cool enough to handle.
While the pepper is cooling, place grate the cheese with a cheese grater. If you are using a grater with multiple sizes, I recommend using the biggest setting. Once the cheese is grated, add the buffalo sauce and the Greek yogurt. Once the pepper has cooled, peel the black char with your hands or with a paper towel. Don't worry if some of the char remains, it just adds some smoky flavor. Remove seeds and stem and chop the roasted pepper up as finely as you can. Add it to the cheese mixture and stir until everything is well combined. Season to taste with salt and serve with tortilla chips, crackers or use for sandwiches.