Saturday, August 7, 2010

Homemade hummus.

So this is also a new venture for me.  I opted to cross reference two recipes I found in this particular case.  Disgustingly Good's "Hummus and the Secret" really gave great insight to a process that they felt was helpful to the overall texture of the hummus.  Blending the olive oil, lemon juice and tahini until well-combined before adding the chickpeas into the equation.  Tight Bod with a Pod's "Simple Hummus" detailed the process of using dried chickpeas as opposed to canned, which is supposed to be better nutrient-wise and also has a lot less sodium (I do prefer salting to taste myself, I don't need a can to do it for me).

So I started off soaking about 8 oz. of chickpeas overnight.  I say about because I think I used half of the 16 oz. bag I bought.  I approximate a lot.  The chickpeas got a bit extra soak time due to my work schedule keeping me away until 3 in the afternoon, but my chickpeas were nice and plump when I strained off the soaking water and got them set up to boil away for a while.

A while turned into a long while.  I think my misstep here was leaving the lid off the pot.  The chickpeas seem to shed their skins much faster if they really get to bubble away under the lid. Spotting the shedding skins was pretty easy, they kind of look like little jelly fish bobbing around after you stir the chickpeas.  Since they came off at such varied rates, I just kept a small dish to the side to toss them in to.

Luckily my boyfriend is a chef, so he's helping me work through my mistakes on this one.  Next time I make hummus I'm definitely going to try blanching the chickpeas to help shock the skin off. So I'll probably do a revision on this in the future.

So after picking out the skins, I saved my cooking water as instructed by tbwap and proceeded to the lemon and tahini step as instructed by Disgustingly Good.  Being a poor college kid, all I have is the 25-year-old blender I inherited from my mother when I got my first apartment, so all my processing was done via blender.  My lemon was finicky and didn't yield as much juice as I expected, so I had to add some of the cooking water to help aid the whipping process.  Sure enough, after I'd added enough extra liquid, it fluffed up and turned a nice, light tan color.  I started adding my chickpeas in small batches, adding touches of the cooking water from time to time as the blender started vibrating my entire counter.

First taste was salt-less to get a sense of where I needed to go with it.  My boyfriend and I stared at each other as we smacked our lips and thought on the flavor.  Something was off.  I looked over my shoulder and there was my sauteed garlic still sitting in the pan.  It hadn't burnt or anything, but I'd definitely set it far enough to the side to momentarily forget it (My garlic was slightly browned though, contrary to tbwap's recommendation, mostly due to getting distracted by stirring my tahini to get it reconstituted).

After a bit more cooking liquid and working my garlic in along with a few dashes of salt, the overall product tasted like it should.  I don't have any pitas on hand as of the time of writing this, so I stowed away all my hummus in a container to set and mingle overnight, hopefully that will help meld the flavor and let it set up a bit (it's a little thin right now).

I think working between the recipes turned out just fine.  So all in all, I'll write out my abbreviated recipe combining the two-

8 ounces dry chickpeas (garbanzo)
Excess cooking liquid
1 lemon
1/4 cup tahini
4 cloves sauteed garlic
Salt to taste

Soak chickpeas (garbanzos) overnight in fresh water.  Drain.  Top over with fresh water and allow to boil at medium-high heat with the pot lid on.  Watch for skins to loosen and float, skimming off foam periodically.  (Note- future attempt will include blanching the chickpeas to help get the skin off)  Strain chickpeas, reserving cooking liquid for later use.  Squeeze all lemon juice into a blender or food processor and add tahini.  Blend until light-colored and slightly fluffy; add cooking liquid if lemon juice is not enough.  Add chickpeas, garlic and cooking liquid to the blender/food processor in three to four small batches.  Salt to taste.  Place in serving bowl and top with olive oil.

I'll also note that one of my favorite uses for hummus is on sandwiches.  I loathe mayo and this is a great way to add moisture to a turkey or chicken sandwich that might be a little dry otherwise.

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