A few weekends ago the weather reports indicated snow, maybe even an ice storm, so I decided to defrost the lamb roast carefully wrapped in my freezer whose intent upon purchasing was to prepare it for the annual snow gathering with our next door neighbors. Still finding a bit of humor in it, we’ve kept up this snow storm tradition of dinner at my house, for now, twenty-three years.
No winter has since resembled the first winter we both moved in just one month apart, yet this unplanned, planned event often turns out to be one of our most fun culinary get-togethers of the year, in fact, we eagerly anticipate it as if it were some sort of calendar holiday.
This year I had a classic Moroccan style roast lamb in mind, popular with sweet potatoes and apricots. Naturally, the hors d’ oeuvre match had to be hummus, a perfect accompaniment, but not the sort purchased at the local supermarket for dipping out of a container, instead, this occasion, plus my desire to finally try the famed recipe from the Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi “Jerusalem” cookbook set the backdrop for Homemade Hummus. Silky, creamy, luxurious homemade hummus. I set to soaking the dried chickpeas overnight.
With another event to attend the following evening, I soaked two bags of chickpeas providing for a little more than double the batch which would later require me no added work for the next gathering, all but cutting additional whole wheat pita bread into wedges.
One of the challenges shared by authority aficionados on the preparation of homemade hummus is the quality and texture of the tahini paste, including the separation of the oil and the solid within the jar, causing thus the solid to harden and making it difficult to work with. One solution is to purchase one of the brands they recommend. If the specific brands are not readily accessible in your area, or at the time of preparing your hummus, you can remedy the dilemma by simply emptying the entire jar, oil, and paste, (it takes a wee bit of chomping) then whizzing it all up to an emulsion in a mini food processor from there you have an evenly distributed, smooth texture for balancing the accurate flavor profile.
I’m not sure I’ve been as truly excited in preparing anything so much as this homemade hummus in a very long time, its outcome distinctive complexity in simplicity.
My enthusiasm even spread over to my uncommon emphatic encouragement of guests to try it at the party the following evening. Once the pita bread and chips were quickly wiped off the trays, some began spooning it onto their salads and dinner plates. Later on at the party, I overheard an expert explaining the preparation to some guests since as it turns out she makes her own homemade hummus all the time. It’s so easy, she explained, ‘you just process a can of chickpeas in the food processor along with some garlic and olive oil and add salt.’ Well, I’ll be. Yotam Ottolenghi never mentioned that ingredient line-up or method in his “Jerusalem” cookbook.
I can’t help but chuckle wondering how many unsuspecting folks might be enthusiastically processing cans of chick peas with garlic and olive oil in their food processors preparing homemade hummus.
Recipe for Basic Hummus from the Jerusalem Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi
- enough water to cover beans by about two to three inches
- 1 pound (16 ounce) bag dried chickpeas
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup tahini
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, seeds removed
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 6 1/2 tablespoons ice water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, more or less to taste
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, optional
- drizzle of olive oil around the top of the hummus just before serving, optional
- Empty dried chickpeas into a colander, sift through for any loose debris or pebbles, rinse. Tumble beans into a soup pot and cover with cold water by around three inches. Let soak overnight.
- Drain chickpeas, add to a medium sized skillet, turn heat on high, sprinkle in the baking powder, stir throughout then continue stirring continuously for 3-4 minutes. Pour in enough cold water to cover chickpeas by a couple of inches, bring to a boil, still on high heat, skimming any foams and skins as they rise to the surface. Cook chickpeas until very tender and easily crushed when pressed between fingers, around twenty to forty minutes depending on the type and freshness of the chickpea.
- "IF" you have a jar of tahini where the oil is floating on the top and the paste below is hard as a rock, then while the chickpeas are cooking, pour all the oil in the jar into a mini food processor then using a dinner knife chomp up and remove all of the hard paste at the bottom of the jar emptying into the food processor along with the oil. Process the mixture to a smooth and even texture, use a spatula to transfer the mixture to a bowl then you can measure an evenly balanced amount of tahini paste called for in the recipe.
- Just before draining the chick peas, fill a small bowl with cold water and a few ice cubes to ready the chilling for the addition in the final part of the hummus preparation.
- Once chickpeas are fully cooked, drain, then transfer to the bowl of a food processor first pulsing to grind the chickpeas, then leaving the food processor running around 3-4 minutes until a firm paste is formed. With the food processor still running pour in one measured cup of tahini paste followed by the lemon juice, the crushed garlic, and the kosher salt, continue processing until well blended then a bit at a time drizzle in the 6 1/2 tablespoons ice water. Once incorporated, transfer the hummus to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for thirty minutes, then, if not using right away refrigerate hummus removing from the refrigerator one half hour before serving time. If desired, stir through fresh chopped parsley and drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top before serving.