Food & Drink

New Classic: Spicy Pimento Goat Cheese

A twist on a Southern classic

photo: Photo courtesy of Our Local Commons

Growing up in Pulaski, Virginia, Jason Alley learned to make biscuits, fried chicken, and more. But when it came to pimento cheese, he preferred the processed, store-bought kind. “We’d get it from Wade’s in Dublin, where it’s pretty weird stuff. American cheese, Miracle Whip, and canned pimentos,” says the chef. “That’s what I grew up with, and I still love it.”

Now, however, at his restaurants Comfort and Pasture in Richmond, scratch-made pimento cheese is always on the menu. Lately, Alley has been substituting local goat cheese for cheddar and drizzling the creamy, chile-spiked dip with spiced honey. “Goat cheese balances the heat well, and the honey and goat cheese thing is classic,” he says. But he hasn’t sworn off the supermarket altogether. “I like it with Ritz Crackers,” he says. “We sell a lot of them at our restaurants, actually. I’ve tried making them, but there’s some science involved that I can’t quite get.”



  • Spicy Pimento Goat Cheese

    • 1 small red bell pepper

    • 12 oz. chévre

    • 2 tbsp. sambal oelek

    • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon

    • 1 tbsp. sliced green onion tops

    • 1/2 cup Duke's mayonnaise

    • 1/2 cup heavy cream

    • Salt and pepper to taste

    • Spiced Honey (recipe below)

  • Spiced Honey

    • 1 tsp. yellow mustard seed

    • 1 tsp. fennel seed

    • 1 tsp. caraway seed

    • 1 cup local honey


  1. For the pimento cheese:

    Preheat the broiler.

  2. Cut the bell pepper in half and remove the stem, ribs, and seeds. Place the pepper halves on a baking sheet, cut-side-down. Broil them until blistered, about 10 minutes, then place them in a plastic bag to steam for 15 more minutes. Remove the skins and dice the peppers. Combine with the next six ingredients in a stand mixer and whip, starting on the lowest setting and increasing the speed until the mixture is smooth. Alternately, mix by hand until creamy. Season to taste. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

  3. To serve, drizzle with honey and pair with celery and crackers.

  4. For the spiced honey:

    Toast seeds in a sauté pan over medium-high heat until fragrant. Remove the pan from the heat, add honey, and transfer the mixture to a bowl. Keep it in a warm place until ready to eat.

Recipe from Jason Alley of Comfort and Pasture restaurants in Richmond, Virginia

For a milder result, omit the sambal oelek, a chile paste available in most grocery stores.