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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Homemade Hummus

There's a long list of foods I want to learn to make from scratch which are foods that are normally purchased ready-made. High on that list is hummus, the delicious, healthy Middle Eastern dip that's often served with pita bread. Tonight I made up a batch for a family birthday lunch this weekend. It came out really good. I think it'll be even better tomorrow after the flavors have a chance to blend.

I made the Ultimate Hummus version. If you're cooking from scratch might as well go all the way, right? I didn't reserve any chickpeas for garnish or chop any cilantro or parsley for garnish. I do plan to drizzle the hummus with olive oil and garnish with a few Kalamata olives for serving. I've had this presentation in restaurants and find it very tasty.

When I finished processing all the ingredients, I was struck by the thought that this is very much like a mayonnaise in composition. To the pureed chickpeas you add a lemon juice mixture and then drizzle in an oil mixture and the whole thing emulsifies and the texture and color change. I'm always fascinated by the science of food.


Recipe from the May/June 2008 issue of Cook's Illustrated.

(Makes about 2 cups)

We recommend Joyva or Krinos tahini and Pastene chickpeas [Kearby's note: their next recommendation is Goya chickpeas, which are pretty easy to find]. The hummus can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 5 days. If you do not plan on serving it immediately, refrigerate the hummus and garnishes separately. When ready to serve, stir in approximately 1 tablespoon of warm water if the texture is too thick.

3 tablespoons juice from 1 to 2 lemons
1/4 cup water
6 tablespoons tahini, stirred well
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 small garlic clove, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch cayenne
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro or parsley leaves

1. Combine lemon juice and water in small bown or measuring cup. Whisk together tahini and 2 tablespoons oil in second small bowl or measuring cup. Set aside 2 tablespoons chickpeas for garnish.
2. Process remaining chickpeas, garlic, salt, cumin, and cayenne in food processor until almost fully ground, about 15 seconds. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula. With machine running, add lemon juice-water mixture in steady stream through feed tube. Scrape down bowl and continue to process for 1 minute. With machine running, add oil-tahini mixture in steady stream through feed tube; continue to process until hummus is smooth and creamy, about 15 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed.
3. Transfer hummus to serving bowl, sprinkle reserved chickpeas and cilantro over surface, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand until flavors meld, at least 30 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.


Pick through and rinse 1/2 cup dried chickpeas. Place beans in large bowl, cover with 1 quart water, and soak overnight. Drain. Bring beans, 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 quart water to boil in large saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, about 1 hour. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup bean cooking water, and cool. Continue with recipe for Restaurant-Style Hummus, replacing tap water with cooking water.

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