If you’ve ever had great hummus, you know it’s a treat. If you’ve experienced meh hummus, maybe too often, you owe it to yourself to make your own – while you can’t control the freshness or quality of store bought, you sure can do so at home.
Ubiquitous in the Middle East, this dip/spread is built from chickpeas, (AKA garbanzos). they’re widely cultivated and enjoyed throughout the region, and for good reason – They pack decent calories, mono and poly unsaturated fats, no cholesterol, and an excellent assortment of vitamins. Add good olive oil, lemon juice, tahini (ground sesame seeds), garlic, and a pinch of salt, and you’ve got a delicious treat.
You’ll find a lot of online recipes using canned garbanzos, but you won’t find that here – your finished product is only as good as your ingredients. The first time you cook top quality dried against anything canned, you’ll never use the latter again – it’s a night and day difference. Get dried garbanzos from Rancho Gordo and you’ll get the best of the best, and likely never look back.
For olive oil, my hands down choice is top quality Greek oil, and I’ll let my Tribal Sister, Christy Hohman Caine, explain why – “Your raw oil should come from Kalamata or Crete and be labeled PDO (protected designation of origin). Greek oils are usually greenish to greenish-gold in color. They are zippy, peppery, grassy, and herbaceous and very complex. They are definitely NOT buttery. Think of Greek oils as flavor enhancers and condiments. There are different tastes in Greek olive oils which are great to experiment with. Some have a tomato leaf essence, others are more lemony. You can get good Greek olive oils online at Greek markets and food shops.” Don’t know about y’all, but you don’t need to tell me twice – I’ve been a convert ever since I read that.
Finally a note on tahini – it’s critical to great hummus. Finding good quality, fresh is far easier than it used to be, but if you want the best, you can build your own – here’s how.
House Made Tahini
1 Cup fresh Sesame Seeds
+/- 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pinch Sea Salt
Preheat oven to 350° F and set a rack in the middle position.
Spread seeds evenly across a clean baking sheet.
Bake until seeds lightly brown and are fragrant, about 10 – 12 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
Pour seeds and oil into a processor, (or blender), and pulse until a smooth paste forms – add more oil if needed, a teaspoon at a time.
Store in a glass, airtight container in a cool, dark spot. Tahini may separate over time, but just flip and shake your container and it’ll be good as new.
Urban’s House Made Hummus
1 pound Rancho Gordo Garbanzos
3/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
1/3 Cup fresh Tahini
3 cloves fresh Garlic
2 teaspoons ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
Vegetable crudités and/or pita bread for chowing
NOTE: volumes of ingredients other than garbanzos are to our taste – we think it makes great hummus – that said, the batch you make is yours, so adjust as needed to get what you love.
Cook the garbanzos in the RG manner – stove top, covered with 2+” of fresh water, with 2 bay leaves and 2-3 small cloves of peeled and trimmed garlic. Bring to a full boil for 10-15 minutes, then reduce heat to a bare simmer and cook until the peas are tender, always maintaining at least 2” of water above the peas – add simmering hot water from a tea kettle to top things off.
Do as Steve Sando advises on the RG website for cooking beans – reduce heat as far as you can while still getting a simmer bubble and let them go low and slow until they’re creamy and almost starting to fall apart a bit.
Drain the peas and reserve bean broth – it’s magic stuff as a base for soup or stew, or added to a pan sauce.
Allow the peas to cool to close to room temperature.
Add garlic cloves to a food processor and pulse until well minced.
Add garbanzos, lemon juice, tahini, and cumin, and pulse a few times to get things incorporated.
Running the processor, add the oil in a slow steady stream. Stop several times to scrape the sides down with a spatula.
Add salt and continue to process until you have a smooth, creamy consistency. If things are too thick, add a tablespoon at a time of oil to thin it out.
Taste and adjust as desired – keep in mind that it takes a good 15 to 30 minutes for everything to get truly cozy and incorporated.
Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with a bit more oil, and dust with the paprika.
Chow down with veggie crudités, pita chips, flatbread, your finger, etc.
Branch out and maybe top a bed of hummus with spiced beef and pine nuts, a wonderful Lebanese treat.
Store refrigerated in an airtight glass container for up to 5 days, or freeze up to 2 months.