A glass dish of pimento cheese with crackers

Photo by Tyson Bird

Mary Faulk Koock, the third of five children of Mattie and Henry Faulk and the original proprietor of Green Pastures Restaurant, wrote The Texas Cookbook: From barbecue to banquet—an informal view of dining and entertaining the Texas way, published in 1965. This is an updated version of Koock’s recipe for “cheese filling,” which contains pimentos and hard-boiled eggs.

The update doesn’t include jarred pimentos. “The red bell peppers we use provide the same pepper flavor and color without the cloying sweetness,” says Chef Joshua Thomas. “We grill the peppers over mesquite to provide a subtle smoky flavor.”

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Mattie’s Pimento Cheese

Yields 3.5 cups

1 lb. Irish cheddar, grated
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 red bell pepper
8 oz. mayonnaise
2 T. fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
A dash of nutmeg

1. Roast bell pepper over open flame or in a 450°  oven until skin becomes charred all the way around. 

2. Place roasted pepper in bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam for 15 minutes. 

3. Once steamed, peel pepper, remove seeds and stem, and finely chop.

4. Toss whole garlic cloves in canola oil and roast at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until garlic browns and softens. Cool, peel, and set aside.

5. Combine the bell pepper, garlic, grated cheese, and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. 

6. Refrigerate and allow flavors to meld for up to 4-6 hours. Serve with slices of grilled ciabatta and cornichons.

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