Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Quest for the Perfect Homemade Hummus

Over the past 4 months I have been on a quest for the perfect hummus recipe. I have to attribute most of my understandings of hummus norms to the basic stuff from Mr. Trader Joe....

In an effort to make something similar on my own (partially out of lack of a TJs here in Switzerland, and partially out of curiosity on how to do it myself) I have searched for and tried countless recipes online. I have even gone through the trouble of bringing a tub of it back to Switzerland with me in my luggage from America and making some from scratch so I could try them side by side. Even then, it was tough to replicate it the stuff. But, the positive take on all of this hummus trial and error is that I have become quite familiar with the standard arsenal of ingredients for the standard hummus recipe and now have a better gauge of how tweaking the quantities of each will affect the final product. Now it just comes down to a game of odds, using guess and check (a much tastier version than I used to use in my elementary school math classes) to reach the final pinnacle of hummus perfection. Here is the attempt I made today, giving a first swing at using the slow cooker to do the dirty work while I was out running errands. In the end I also twisted up my standard recipe with some sundried tomato goodness. Feel free to stop before adding this in the end if you want to stick to hummus purity. My final call on today's hummus quest = umm umm good!

Today’s Hummus Recipe:
Yield: about 3 cups of heaven
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 6-12 hours
Total Time: 30 hours + (includes idle chill time)

3 cups cooked chickpeas (slow cooker recipe below)
¼-½ cup of the reserved slow cooker water (depending on your desired consistency)
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp freshly ground sea salt (+/- depending on your taste)
¼ cup tahini
Juice from ½ a lemon
1 tsp red wine vinegar
½ tsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
½ tsp cumin

For the sundried tomato version:
2 Tbls pureed sun-dried tomatoes
1 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried basel flakes (or fresh if you have them!)
A handful of pinenuts (optional)

Place the chickpeas, garlic, and salt in your food processor. Process (scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally) until all of the beans are generally ground up. Add the lemon juice, vinegars, cumin and cooking water. Process for about 30 seconds to 1 minute then add the tahini. Process for a minute or 2 more, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil and process until the hummus is as smooth as you like it. Add in more cooking water to get it to the right consistency.

Transfer over to a bowl and if you are making the sundried tomato version you can mix all of those ingredients in now with a spoon. Enjoy!

Slow cooker chickpeas:
1 cup dried chickpeas
6 cups water
A few pinches of baking soda
2 cloves garlic
A splash of olive oil

Rinse the dried chickpeas well then soak them in two cups of the water with a sprinkle of baking soda overnight. The next day drain the chickpeas, then place them with the garlic, and the olive oil in your slow cooker. Add the rest of the water (enough to cover the chickpeas by a least a few inches), then place the lid on and turn the slow-cooker to low for 12 hours or high for 6 hours. Cook them until the chickpeas have almost no resistance when you squish one between your fingers. Turn off the slow cooker and drain the chickpeas, reserving the liquid in a bowl.

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