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Pimiento Cheese Creamed Spinach

- Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller
Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

"Creamy spinach casserole has always been a favorite in my family, so it's a sure-fire hit for any gathering. The pimiento cheese flavors give it a uniquely Southern twist." --Perre Coleman Magness, author of Pimento Cheese: The Cookbook

Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Yields: Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

3 (10-oz.) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 medium-size yellow onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

4 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces and softened

1 cup milk

1 (8-oz.) container sour cream

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 (4-oz.) jar diced pimiento, drained and rinsed

2 cups (8 oz.) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

How to Make It

Preheat oven to 350°. Drain spinach well, pressing between paper towels. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute; remove from heat.

Stir cream cheese into onion mixture until melted and well blended. Stir in spinach, milk, and next 3 ingredients. Stir together egg, drained pimiento, and 1 1/2 cups cheese; stir egg mixture into spinach mixture. Spoon mixture into lightly greased (with cooking spray) ramekins or a 2-qt. baking dish; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Toss together panko, 2 Tbsp. melted butter, and remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese; sprinkle over spinach mixture.

Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until bubbly and golden.

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