Right now I'm coming off of a longer, more eventful and more relaxing break than I've had in a while. I was in Nantucket for a week hanging out, going to the beach, eating well and cooking some. My break ended with a lovely birthday dinner back here in St. Louis, which consisted of more eating well. Unfortunately, all I have to show for all these "good eats" is a revised version of an old favorite (and a few extra ice cream pounds)- not so new but definitely improved, hopefully like this year will turn out for me.
But onto the hummus...
I've been making homemade hummus for a long time. At first it was an attempt to save money and make something better tasting than the store-bought version, but unfortunately, it never quite surpassed my favorite stuff from the store. I fell into a rut of using the same ingredients (canned chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, salt, tahini, olive oil, and water) in the same way time and time again and it was always fine but never great.
However, after a little fine-tuning and the wonderful addition of a Cuisinart, I think I've come up with a much better and only slightly more time consuming version of homemade hummus. My problems in the past consisted of overly pungent garlic, a not smooth enough consistency and a tinge of that not so pleasant canned food taste from the chickpeas. So this time I decided to sauté the garlic in some olive oil before adding it, employ the Cuisinart, and buy dried chickpeas, which I then soaked and boiled.
Sauteing the garlic reduced it's harsh and unrelenting aftertaste-leaving qualities while the Cusinart allowed for a kind of creaminess I never could achieve with a series of crappy blenders, and last but not least, using dried beans lent an aspect of freshness and flavor that's absent from canned varieties.
Homemade Hummus Revised
1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked for 24 hrs [overnight should be fine as well]
1 tablespoon sesame tahini
juice of half a large lemon
1/4- 1/3 cup reserved liquid (from boiling chickpeas)
3 cloves garlic (2 large, one small)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 teaspoon salt
cayenne or hot paprika for sprinkling
Dump the soaked beans and the water they were soaked in, plus a little extra, into a large pot over high heat. Once the water begins to boil, reduce heat to medium to simmer the beans. Continue simmering until the beans have reached desired softness (about 30 minutes). While the beans are simmering pour the olive oil into a small saute pan over low heat and add the 2 large cloves of garlic. Saute until the garlic is golden in color and set aside.
Once the beans have reached desired softness, place a sieve over a pot to drain the beans and reserve their cooking liquid. Pour the beans into the Cuisinart along with the tahini, lemon juice, sauteed garlic and oil, raw garlic clove, salt and 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Blend until smooth, scraping sides as needed. Drizzle in more cooking liquid as the mixture blends to achieve desired consistency.