Foothill gourmet: Homemade hummus

By From page B2 | January 27, 2014

Donna BrownWe’ve been enjoying purchased hummus with friends and family for several weeks. Imagine my surprise, when I found a recipe to make homemade hummus.

This recipe uses dried chickpeas instead of canned. Dried chickpeas make a creamier hummus. I was excited to try that recipe.

I followed the recipe the first time but made two alterations in my next preparation. If you want to make homemade hummus, I guarantee this recipe. I’ve made it three times in the last three weeks.

The recipe reads as labor intensive. Actually, it’s not. Once you’ve soaked the chickpeas overnight, final prep time is about 50 minutes. It’s definitely a weekend recipe but the recipe makes about three to four cups and you’ll have it available for most of a week.

It’s delicious. I’ll also detail some ingredients as optional in today’s column.

Creamy homemade hummus — Ingredients: 1 cup dried chickpeas, 1 tablespoon baking soda, 1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste) well stirred, 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, (optional drizzle a bit more on top of the hummus just before serving), 1 clove garlic, juice of 2 lemons, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, (optional, I don’t use red pepper flakes), 1/4 teaspoon paprika, plus more for sprinkling, and sea salt. Include corn chips, pita bread and vegetable sticks.

Preparation — First spread the chickpeas on a large cookie sheet. The cookie sheet enables you to sort out the chickpeas that are small and dried up. Get rid of them and any small stones. Anytime you prepare any bean recipe, be sure to check for stones. Now, you’re ready to soak the chickpeas. Rinse well. Transfer chickpeas to a large bowl (I use my Dutch oven) and add 8 cups of water. Stir in baking soda. Set aside to soak at room temperature, at least 12 hours and up to 1 day.

After soaking, drain the chickpeas and rinse well. Transfer to a large pot and add 10 cups water. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Skim off foam for the first 5 minutes with a large spoon and discard. Then, reduce the heat to low and simmer, until the chickpeas are very soft, about 45 minutes. To test if the chickpeas are soft, take a fork and press a chickpea against the side of the pan. If it breaks apart easily, it’s soft. If the chickpea doesn’t easily break up and seems to be firm, cook the chickpeas another 5-8 minutes.

Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the chickpeas in cold water. Transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth. With the machine running, add the tahini, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, red pepper flakes (optional), 1 teaspoon salt and 2/3- 3/4 cup of the reserved cooking water. Puree until smooth and creamy, 4-5 minutes.

Transfer the hummus to a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika. Serve with corn chips, pita bread and vegetables. Cover and refrigerate for three to four days.

Here’s a few ideas for guacamole dips for the big game day.

Chipotle guacamole — Mash 3 avocados with 1/4 cup minced red onion, 1 tablespoon minced chipotles in adobe sauce, the juice of 1 lime and salt to taste.

Tropical guacamole — Make chipotle guacamole (above), replacing the chipotles with roasted green chiles, if you prefer less heat. Add 1/4 cup each chopped mango and pineapple and 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro.

Garlic herb dip — Halve 3 heads of garlic crosswise. Drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil and roast at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Squeeze out the pulp. Mix with 1 cup mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon each lemon zest and lemon juice, 1/4 cup chopped sage and 1/2 cup chopped parsley. Taste and season with salt.

Have a wonderful Super Bowl Sunday. Perhaps, you’ll try my new favorite food, hummus or a variation of guacamole dip. Enjoy life and enjoy your favorite pastime, it could be football, needlework, reading, gardening or exercising.

Donna Brown

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