Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hummus or as MY Cookbook says...Hommos

Hummus and I have a long history. I love the stuff but when I have tried to make it, it has usually been a flop. Not that it doesn't come out as edible, it just has a strange texture or doesn't taste quite right. One recipe was too coarse, one too lemony, one too oily... I could had kept tweeking the same recipe but instead I kept looking for a new one. A local take out restaurant, Barpa Bill's, has delicious hummus, and they even gave the recipe to a writer from a publication that they have hung on the wall in the restaurant. I wrote it down one day, while waiting for my veggie pita, thinking that this would be the one. No. In fact, I almost feel they gave the newspaper a decoy recipe. Well, it is time to announce, my search has finally lead me to THE ONE. It is in the same cookbook I mentioned in this post, a cookbook that has yet to let me down, and is on the way to becoming a favorite.

As you can see, Hummus is not very photogenic. I should have out it in a bowl and laid out a nice spread of pita chips, olives, cheese... but I photographed the before and after instead. I like the idea of anything you can throw into the blender, push a button, and have complete and ready to eat. This recipe is very open ended, with quantities of ingredients being left up to the maker. This made me a bit worried about the outcome, given the past flops, but it is really, really good. My husband admitted to me when he started eating it that he was ready to quit eating the store bought hummus, that he was sick of it, and he was thrilled that I found a good recipe. It's a hit around here. The recipe follows, and I will use a * and paranthesis to let you know what I did.

Hommos (Middle Eastern Chickpea Puree)
Serves 6-8
Recipe by Martha Rose Shulman
From the Cookbook "Gourmet Vegetarian Feasts"

- 1 cup chickpeas, washed, picked over, and soaked for several hours or overnight in three times their volume water *(I used Eden Organic canned chickpeas, which is 2 cups, so I doubled the recipe)
- Sea salt, to taste
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup lemon juice, or to taste *(I used 1/2 cup in my doubled recipe, the minimum)
- 2 large garlic cloves *(4 for me)
- 1/4 cup good olive oil *(1/2 cup extra virgin for me)
- 6-8 heaping Tablespoons tahini *(I used 12 T for the doubled recipe)
- 6 -8 Tablespoons plain low fat yogurt *(I used 12 T of organic 3.25% fat)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin *(1 t for me)
- Freshly chopped parsley and halved black olives for garnish

1) Combine chickpeas with 5 cups of water in a large pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer one hour. *(I probably didn't have to do this for my canned chickpeas, which are already quite soft, but the last time I just added them to the recipe, it had a coarse texture. So, I did do this step.)
2) Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt and continue to simmer another hour, until chickpeas are soft. Drain, retaining some of the liquid. *(I removed mine from the stove after an hour. I added the 1 teaspoon of salt to all the ingredients in the blender, and I did add a bit of the cooking water so it was nice consistency.)
3) In a blender, food processor, or mortar and pestle grind together cooked chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, tahini, and yogurt until you have a smooth paste. Add more yogurt or cooking liquid if you want a smoother puree. Add salt to taste and ground cumin, and blend in.
4) Transfer to bowl, sprinkle with parsley, and garnish with black olives. Serve with bread, crackers, or rounds of cucumbers. This can be frozen. *(Since I doubled the recipe, I had a HUGE amount, so I gave some to a friend, but am happy to see hummus can be frozen. We like to eat it with carrots, pita chips, and cheese, as well as the items listed...)



robyn said...

ooh yum, this sounds delicious and I love hummus but find it difficult to locate sometimes. And when they do carry it, it's always that same brand everywhere. I'll have to bookmark this recipe to use myself. Thanks for sharing, as always.

sheasy said...

This is some weird timing! Just saying to a friend how all my hummus attempts have convinced me to keep buying it from the deli. Definitely going to give this a try!