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March 19, 2008 / Tony

Really Great Hummus

It’s often the case with really nice things that once you experience them, it’s really hard to go back to whatever you had before.  Towels, cars, houses. . . take your pick.  It’s hard to regress to something less nice because there simply isn’t any enjoyment in it because of the knowledge that there’s something better out there.  This is how I feel about my previous hummus post.  There was really nothing wrong with it but now that I have had the following recipe, I know I can ever go back to it because it just isn’t as good.  In fact, it isn’t even close. 

Really Great Hummus, based on a recipe from Savuer Magazine, No. 92.

1 2/3 cups dried chickpeas, picked over and soaked overnight.

1 clove garlic, peeled

Kosher salt

1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

3 T extra-virgin olive oil

2 tsp chopped parsley

Drain chickpeas, transfer to a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until chickpeas are tender and skins begin to fall off.  This could take anywhere from 1 hour to 2 1/2 hours.  Drain well, reserving the cooking liquid, and set chickpeas aside until cool enough to handle.

Put chickpeas and 1/4 cup cooking liquid into a food processor and puree, occasionally scraping down bowl, until very smooth, 3-4 minutes.  If the mixture looks dry, add more cooking liquid.  Transfer puree to a large bowl. 

Put the garlic and a pinch of salt into a mortar and crush with a pestle until they form a paste.  Transfer garlic paste to bowl of chickpeas.  Add tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt to taste and mix well to combine.

Transfer hummus to a bowl.  Sprinkle with parsley.  Serve with tortilla chips. 

You should end up with a very smooth and very creamy dip.  Here’s what mine looked like:


What makes this recipe so much better is that it is so much more smoother and earthier.  There seems to be more of the essence of chickpeas in the recipe.  The garlic and lemon juice are just present enough to compliment the beaniness of the dish.  I really don’t know how else to describe it.  It’s just magical. 

A few notes:  1)  The original recipe does two things that I changed.  First, it asks you to peel the chickpeas after cooking.  I can’t say what the benefit to this is but I admit to skipping this step out of sheer laziness.  Second, it instructs the cook to put the olive oil on top of the hummus instead of incorporating it into the hummus.  Your choice.  2)   I am not very good at cooking beans of any sort.  Hence, my rather weak instructions at how to cook them in the recipe.  The original recipe says the chickpeas should cook in 50 minutes.  I found them to still be a bit raw at that point.  I have no insight into why mine took so much longer to cook.  All I can advise is to taste the chickpeas until they are tender.  That’s the only way to tell.  Enjoy!


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