Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Hummus a la Smooth and Creamy

The secret to smooth hummus is the baking soda. Don't leave this out. While this method of making hummus is more time-consuming, it is worth the extra effort if you love smooth hummus like you buy in the stores. Use quality ingredients since it takes so much time and don't worry if measurements aren't exact because this is a very forgiving recipe!

1 cup dried chickpeas
2 tsp. baking soda (divided)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (divided) - about 2-3 lemons
4 medium cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup ice cold water
2/3 cup tahini
1/2 tsp to 1 tsp. ground cumin
Olive oil

Soak chickpeas in a bowl with 1 tsp. of baking soda and cold water - about 2 inches above the chickpeas. Soak overnight (8-12 hours), then drain and rinse.

Place chickpeas in a saucepan with cold water 2 inches above the chickpeas and 1 tsp. baking soda. Bring to a boil and turn to low and partially cover with a lid (don't cover completely or you'll have a mess). Simmer for 30-45 minutes until peas are tender and falling apart. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, put 1/3 cup of lemon juice, whole garlic cloves and salt into a food processor and process until the garlic is broken up. Let it sit or mellow out for 10 minutes. Strain the lemon juice (using a fine mess strainer) and get as much juice out as possible. Throw away the solid garlic or save for another use.

Rinse all solid pieces of garlic out of the food processor and put the lemon-garlic juice back into the food processor, along with tahini. With the food processor running, add ice cold water a tablespoon at a time until it is smooth, pale and thick, scraping down the sides at least once. Add the cooked chickpeas and cumin and run the processor for about 4 minutes or more until the hummus is smooth, creamy and thick. Scrape down the sides about every minute. If hummus is too thick, taste it and if it needs more lemon, add a little bit of lemon juice at a time to get it to the consistency you like. Add more salt if needed and cumin to your taste.

Place the hummus in a 4 cup bowl or larger and cover with plastic wrap. Hummus might be very warm and tastes better if it is cold and allowed to rest so flavors can develop.

To serve, generously drizzle olive oil on top. You can sprinkle with hot smoked paprika, ground cayenne for a spicier version, parsley, pine nuts, a good pesto sauce, sundried tomatoes or just about anything you like.

Serve with pita chips, pita bread, raw veggies or flatbread. Makes about 4 cups.

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