Hummus – The Slow (and cheap) Way

Serving Hummus

Hummus serving suggestion, with chives, olive oil, and pita

Hummus (There are several possible spellings for this word) is one of those foods that we see almost everywhere now, either served with raw vegetables or pita bread triangles. Or in vegetarian sandwiches, or drizzled with olive oil as a side dish with gyros. It’s one of the first Middle Eastern foods to go mainstream in the United States. It’s easy to find in tubs at grocery stores, if you need a quick dip/spread for a party. It’s even pretty good for you, nutritionally, with the fiber of the garbanzo beans and all.  Did I mention it also freezes well?

Another wonderful thing about hummus is that if you have a blender or food processor, it’s really easy to make, whether you used canned beans, as in this video from about.com,

Traditional Hummus

or if you really start from scratch and use dried garbanzo beans (aka chick peas), which takes more time (The beans need to soak for several hours- all day, or overnight). This recipe is rather flexible. You can make it with or without tahini (sesame paste), with or without garlic, with or without lemon juice, and you can modify it with herbs and spices to match your own taste. I personally use a food processor, and I like garlic, tahini, and lemon.  The recipe below makes a large quantity- enough to freeze a couple containers for later.

Dried Chick Peas

Dried chick peas, before soaking

Equipment

  • food processor or blender
  • liquid measuring cup
  • measuring spoons
  • cutting board
  • large bowl
  • large saucepan or pasta pot
  • knife
  • colander
  • rubber or silicone spatula
  • plastic freezer containers and lids
Chick Peas Soaking

Chick peas soaking

Ingredients

  • 3 cups dried chick peas (aka garbanzo beans), picked over to remove rocks and bad beans
  • water
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 6 -8 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
Soaked Chick Peas

Chick peas, re-hydrated, before cooking

Procedure

  1. On the day before you want to serve your hummus, put the dried beans with 12 cups of water in a large bowl or pot with the 1/2 tsp. baking soda.  Let the beans sit in the water for 12 hours, or overnight.
  2. After the beans have sit in the water, they will be re-hydrated, and gotten larger, absorbing a lot of the water.  Drain off any soaking water, then place your beans in the large cooking pot, and cover again with fresh water, so that the beans are under an inch or so of water.
  3. Cook the beans at a simmer until they can be mashed easily with a fork.  This can take an hour or longer, depending on the simmer and the heat of your burner.
  4. Meanwhile, peel your cloves of garlic, squeeze your lemon, and measure out your olive oil.
  5. When the beans are done, reserve a cup or two of the cooking water, and then drain the beans in a colander.
  6. Put the beans in your blender or food processor (you may need to do this in batches, depending on capacity), and add the lemon juice, tahini, and garlic.  Process until smooth, adding some of the cooking water as needed to thin the mixture out.
  7. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil.
  8. Stop the blender or processor, scrape down the sides with the spatula, and taste for seasonings.  Add more garlic, olive oil, tahini, or lemon juice as fits your taste.
  9. When you have a hummus you like, you can serve it immediately, or store it in the refrigerator or freezer, in a covered plastic container.
More Hummus Ingredients

More ingredients, ready for the processing

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