What! did I really need one more recipe for hummus? Probably not, but this hummus seemed so much smoother, silkier, even tastier than the usual recipe. (here). I found this version while paging through an under-utilized cookbook on an overcrowded shelf; either wasting time or looking for inspiration. The ingredients and procedures are similar to other hummus recipes, with small variations in quantities. What made the difference?
Could it have been the cook? I had spent the day procrastinating, avoiding some tasks that really must be done this week. Instead of working down the long list of Things To Do in April, I busied myself in the kitchen. I lingered over simple tasks, read directions thoroughly, organized all required ingredients ahead of time and planned several healthy meals for the week ahead. There was time for several cups of tea too, while I relaxed, studied the patterns of raindrops as they merged and meandered down the tall windows.
I think that project list lengthened while my back was turned. I could feel the weight of it pressing down on my conscience. Do you suppose a guilty cook produces an improved dish? It seemed to work with hummus.
Hummus Bi Tahini
Recipe from Joanne Weir’s From Tapas to Meze, 2004
1 1/3 cups dried chickpeas (8 0z), or one large can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed and drained again
Juice of 3 lemons, divided (about 6-8 TB of bottled juice)
1/2 cup tahini or sesame seed paste
2 TB water
4 TB olive oil (divided)
6 cloves garlic, minced or smashed into a pulp
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 1/2 tsp plus a pinch of sweet paprika (or smoky pimenton)
1/4 tsp cumin
1 tsp chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
6 lemon wedges
Kalamata or nicoise olives
Pita bread, warmed or pita chip wedges
Rinse the dried chickpeas and discard any stones. Cover with water and soak 8 hours or overnight. Drain and place in a saucepan with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Simmer until very tender and the skins begin to crack, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Drain the chickpeas but reserve the cooking liquid. Reserve a few whole chickpeas for garnish. (I didn't bother to cook the canned chickpeas; just pureed them in the blender after the drain and rinse procedure.)
In a food processor or blender, puree the chickpeas, the juice of 2 of the lemons (about 4 TB), the tahini, the water, 3 TB of the olive oil, the garlic, cayenne, 1 1/2 tsp of the paprika, the cumin, and 3/4 tsp salt (to taste) until a soft, creamy paste is obtained. Season with additional salt and lemon juice as needed.
Spread the puree on a plate and make a small well in the center. Drizzle the remaining 1 TB olive oil in the well. Sprinkle with parsley and the remaining pinch of paprika. Garnish with the lemon wedges, olives, and reserved whole chickpeas. Serve with warm pita bread or crispy pita chips. (Disclaimer: I skipped the pretty presentation directions and just piled the hummus into small bowls.)
Use the reserved cooking water to thin the blender mixture as needed. Don’t overthin the paste.
This recipe can be made up to 2 days in advance. Bring to room temperature before serving.