Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Creamiest Hummus

Making hummus with dried chickpeas has been on my mental list of "recipes to try" for awhile now. I (finally) remembered to soak the dried chickpeas in water overnight.

There are a number of sources claiming that soaking and cooking dried chickpeas makes for the best hummus. The biggest problem with using this method is remembering to do the soaking - so much easier to open a can of chickpeas. And then there is the cooking of the chickpeas for an hour before you can even start the recipe in earnest. Do not let these factors deter you from making this. You won't be able to whip up a bowl of hummus at the drop of a hat, but you will have a seriously good hummus for those times that you do plan ahead, possibly wishing to impress company (or just yourself).

I used to make hummus quite often, until the kids started turning their noses up at it. They seemed to prefer the supermarket variety, and even that has fallen from favour recently. Hummus is the perfect food for kids. Not only is the hummus itself good for them, but it encourages lots of dipping with fun things like carrot and celery sticks, colourful sweet peppers, rice crackers and pita bread triangles.

It is official - this hummus was really creamy and really smooth. Much smoother than any hummus I have made before. Prior to this, I was always adding more oil and lemon juice to try and get it to the desired consistency, without much success. I can only assume that soaking the chickpeas made all the difference. Or how the ingredients are added the ingredients to the food processor helps, too. Whatever the reason, this hummus was delicious.

The Creamiest Hummus

1/2 cup dried chickpeas
1/8 t. baking soda
3 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. cooking water from the chickpeas
4 T. tahini, stirred well
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced (optional)
1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 t. ground cumin
Pinch cayenne
1 T. fresh parsley or cilantro, minced

1. Place the dry chickpeas in a large bowl. Cover with 1 litre of water, and soak overnight in the fridge. Drain. In a large saucepan, bring the soaked chickpeas, baking soda, and a fresh litre of water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently for about 1 hour. Reserve 1/4 cup of cooking water from the chickpeas before draining. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and the reserved cooking water. In another small bowl, thoroughly combine the tahini and 2 T. of olive oil.
3. Place the chickpeas in the work bowl of a food processor. Remove 1-2 tablespoons of chickpeas for garnish; set aside. Add the garlic, salt, cumin, and cayenne to the food processor and process until the almost fully ground, scraping down the bowl as you go.
4. With the machine running, add the lemon juice mixture in a steady stream through the feed tube and continue to process for about 1 minute, until the mixture is really smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. With the machine running, add the oil/tahini mixture in a steady stream through the feed tube. Process until the hummus is very smooth and creamy.
5. Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl, sprinkle with the reserved chickpeas and parsley. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil and serve.

*For my hummus yesterday, I omitted the garlic (only because I was out of fresh garlic), and the flavour was still great.