Sunday, February 23, 2014

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

I have been searching for the perfect hummus recipe. A month or so back my husband declared my addiction to the stuff, and he's right. I was buying my hummus at Whole Foods, about 3 containers at a time. It was expensive. And delicious. Part of the reason for the increased intake was my transition to plant based eating. I was cutting up raw veggies and eating them by the container full. I finally decided that I couldn't continue to afford the amount of hummus I was buying and so I tackled the challenge of making my own. I was looking to create a hummus that didn't have extra oil added in and that didn't taste like dust.

Several things I have learned about making hummus;
1. You have to use small dried chick peas. The garbanzo beans in the can (no matter if they are organic or not) just don't provide the right result.
2. Using a garlic press or a knife to mince fresh garlic makes a world of difference.
2. You have to play with the tastes until you find what you like.
3. Each batch tastes just a little different depending on the brand of tahini or the pungency of the garlic.
4. Don't expect it to last very long. I actually have no idea how long it would keep in the fridge because when I make it, my family (mostly myself) eats it up in a matter of days.

My aunt Julia actually recommended this recipe and I have adapted it to our tastes. I have made several varieties including plain, roasted red pepper (the favorite), spinach, garlic, and the next flavor in the wings is sundried tomato basil. I have also experimented with Roasted Baba Ganoush but that is another post entirely.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
adapted from Jerusalem: A Cookbook
by Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi

1 1/4 cup dried chick peas (the smaller the better)
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 c tahini
juice of 2 lemons
4-5 cloves of crushed garlic
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
8 Tbls cold water
2 red peppers

1. Place chick peas in large ceramic bowl and cover with water to soak. Make sure water is at least an inch and a half to two inches over the top of the beans as they will expand. Leave sit overnight and change water once or twice if sitting for longer than 12 hours. The chick peas may start to sprout that that is just fine.
2. Turn on oven broiler.
3. Drain chick peas and sift through to remove debris.
4. Place in large soup kettle and add baking soda. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes which stirring.
5. Cover with water and bring to a rolling boil. Cooking time will vary from 15-40 minutes depending on how long your beans soaked. (I typically soak for at least 12 hours and then only need to cook for 15-20 minutes.) The chick pea should easily smash between your fingers when it is done.
6. While beans are cooking, wash both red peppers, top and remove seeds. Cut them in half the long way and place skin side up on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Slide them in the oven and broil until skins are bubbling and charred (watch closely as this happens quickly). Remove from oven and wrap them in the aluminum foil to seal in heat and soften pepper with its own steam. Let sit for 15 minutes.  
7. After the peppers have steamed in their foil packets, open and remove skin. It should peel off fairly easily. (If the skin is sticking in some places I often just leave bits of it on and process it directly into the hummus.)
7. Drain the cooked chick peas and place in food processor. Run food processor until a thick paste has formed, scraping sides as needed. 
8. Add tahini, lemon juice, garlic, sea salt, cold water and red peppers and blend with food processor until combined, scraping sides as necessary.
9. Refrigerate in glass container for up to one week.