Sunday, June 28, 2009

Day 5: World's Smoothest Hummus

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Hummus is a funny (but not ha-ha funny) thing: though nearly everyone eats and likes hummus, and it has reached nearly ubiquitous status in our grocery stores and snack tables, most hummus is kind of....eh? Shouldn't something everyone is eating taste really phenomenal? But store-bought hummus (and a whole lot of the homemade variety, too) just misses the mark and is either too bland or too garlicky or too mealy or too thick or just too eh. Plus, for something made out of dirt-cheap beans, store-bought hummus is spendy, and that's just adding insult to injury.

So here's a recipe adapted from my favorite Yankees at America's Test Kitchen for a really smooth, beautifully balanced, painfully simple hummus that will see you through parties, barbeques, and mindless snacking for the rest of the summer. This makes 2 cups, but I suggest doubling it just to have on hand. There is hummus! Ammung us!

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Let's start with fresh lemon juice, a very good place to start. Juice a lemon or two: you'll need about four tablespoons. Mix the lemon juice with the 1/4 cup water in a small bowl and set aside.

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Next, you'll need tahini (which is basically a paste made from roasted sesame seeds), and make it the jarred paste variety, not the dehydrated. This is the spendiest ingredient in the recipe, but a) it's essential and b) you'll be able to keep it in the fridge and make several batches of fresh hummus for the same price as one tub of crappy store hummus. Win! Crack open your jar of tahini, stir well so the oils are evenly mixed, and measure out six-ish tablespoons in another small bowl. (Be advised: tahini does not like to have its picture taken. In every photo I took, it looked sullen, pale, and listless.) Add olive oil, whisk together, and set aside, somewhere over by that lemon water if you feel like it.

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Crack open your can o' chickpeas, drain, and rinse well.

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Throw the chickpeas, garlic, salt, and cayenne in a food processor bowl...

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....process for about fifteen seconds...

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...until you get this coarse, crumbly bean paste. This is, obviously, not the texture we're shooting for, so scrape down the sides of the bowl, start the machine...

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...and slowly drizzle the abandoned lemon water into the feed tube with the processor running. You're making an emulsion, and you will not be able to handle the resulting creaminess.

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Once you've added all the lemon water, stop the processor, scrape down the sides (always with the scraping!), and process for another minute...

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...while slowly adding your tahini/oil mixture. Continue processing for another fifteen to thirty seconds until...

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...you have creamy, velvety, pale-tan hummus! If it looks too thick, you can add a little water and process to desired consistency.

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Spread the hummus into a shallow bowl and drizzle with some olive oil...

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...sprinkle on paprika...

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...and finish with minced parsley.

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Serve with fresh cucumber slices, peppers, and pita breads. Dippable!

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This is obviously great for snack food or appetizers, but I like to add a piece of grilled meat or chicken for a nearly effortless, no-hot-oven-required dinner. Plus, children love dipping various things in tasty paste, it's a fact. Evidence:

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OK, well, sometimes "love" looks like "grimace."

Enjoy! (I'll have printable pdf up just as soon as I reload farking Office. Please excuse my hard drive failure and address all complaints directly to Dell.)

Smooth Lemon Hummus (adapted from America's Test Kitchen)
makes 2 cups

4 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup water
6 T. tahini
2 T. olive oil
1 (14 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 t. salt
pinch cayenne
olive oil for drizzling
1/8 tsp paprika
parsley leaves, chopped


Mix lemon juice and water in small bowl; set aside. Mix tahini and oil in another bowl; set aside. Process chickpeas, garlic, salt, and cayenne in food processor for 15-30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl. With machine running, slowly add lemon water via feed tube. Scrape down sides of bowl. With machine again running, slowly add tahini/oil mixture via feed tube. Process for about one minute, until mixture is creamy and emulsified. Top with drizzle of olive oil, paprika, and parsley.

14 comments:

  1. This is basically what we do, but one thing for the BEANPLATE you might want to do is "hummus with ful" - broad beans (fava?) heated on top. Can use canned or fresh. Then you get double the bean! It's a common way of serving here. Add some chopped spicy peppers or a sliced hardboiled egg too!

    And I always need to add a lot more water or oil to get that consistency.

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  2. I ADORE hummus, and I admit I've fallen prey to the grocery store tubs. I'm going to break out the processor and have at it...

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  3. Did you just use a mini-prep for that? Or does one need the giant processor?

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  4. God, you hummus photo is SO much better than my hummus photo.

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  5. @Amanda: I used my full-size processor; I think a mini-prep might be a challenge with this one, but you could try processing in quarter-batches?

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  6. Who knew a food blog could be so much fun? Apparently, not I ...

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  7. Can someone PLEASE tell me what section of a grocery store has tahini? I have been to three stores and can't find it anywhere. I ask and get one of those "Huh?" looks from the employees. Thank you!!!

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  8. hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....

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  9. I make a thick highly coloured multi-textured hummus. Red onions, green stuff, garlic, lemon, tahini (fresh ground sesame seeds and olive oil)-I call it Wild Hummus. I can't stand the 'pap' feel of creamy hummus... or mashed potatoes (gimme lumps!) My daughter can't stand the textures. :)

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  12. This is basically how my dad makes his hummus - to date, the best I have ever tasted anywhere. Love the idea of serving with grilled chicken for a simple dinner :)

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