My hummus…

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I have been making hummus for years and have concluded that despite the temptation to use canned chickpeas, the flavor is much better when it is made with dried chickpeas found at Middle Eastern or Indian food stores. First I soak a large quantity overnight, cook some and then drain and freeze the rest in two-cup batches in plastic bags.

Whenever I need them for hummus, falafel,or for chickpea soups and stews, I just take them out of the freezer. When substituting canned beans, figure that one cup of raw chickpeas equals two cups of cooked or canned. Some old-time cooks in the Middle East either peel cooked chickpeas or pass them through a food mill before using them. I find there is no need for this laborious extra step. I add to my hummus a little bit of cumin, which blends beautifully with the garlic and lemony flavor.

This is the only hummus recipe you will ever need; one taste may cause you to never buy store-bought again. The soaking and simmering process may seem tiresome, but the truth is, you’re not really doing anything except reaping the rewards. The hummus comes together in 3 minutes flat in a food processor and if you have a day to let it sit, it’s just what it needs to allow the flavors to full develop. Which is not to say that we did not dash it with fresh parsley, a dribble of olive oil and a sprinkling of za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend we adore, and dive into it with carrot sticks, right from the food processor bowl, because I think that goes without saying. We are happy, happy hummus-ers, indeed.

Hummus

My Hummus :

Makes 4 cups

1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
3 garlic cloves, peeled
3/4 cup sesame seed paste
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, and more to taste
Cayenne, hot Hungarian paprika or za’atar
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 teaspoons olive oil

1. Rinse the soaked chickpeas well and drain them before putting them in a saucepan and covering them with plenty of fresh water. Bring to a boil; skim, add one-half teaspoon salt, cover and cook over medium heat, about 1 1/2 hours, until the chickpeas are very soft (you might need to add more water).

2. Meanwhile, crush the garlic and one-half teaspoon salt in a mortar until pureed. Transfer the puree to the work bowl of a food processor, add the sesame seed paste and lemon juice and process until white and contracted. Add one-half cup water and process until completely smooth.

3. Drain the chickpeas, reserving their cooking liquid. Add the chickpeas to the sesame paste mixture and process until well-blended. For a smoother texture, press the mixture through the fine blade of a food mill. Thin to desired consistency with reserved chickpea liquid. Adjust the seasoning with salt and lemon juice. The hummus can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.) Serve, sprinkled with paprika (or za’atar) and parsley and drizzled with oil.

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