Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking (order a copy)
Paula’s Hummus recipe
I really LOVE hummus! I always thought I did, but I never realized how much until now. Over the years, I have bought countless containers of hummus. I’ve tried every flavor. ( black olive, roasted red pepper, garlic…) Every container ended up crusty and hard in the back of my refrigerator. I made Paula Wolfert’s hummus, and it was gone in 2 days. First, I ate it with warm pita bread. Then, I used it as a dip for carrots and celery. I started adding it to everything. I spread it on my sandwich. It substituted mayo in my new version of deviled eggs. I ate the last spoonful right from the bowl. I guarantee if you try this, you will never buy it again. It is very simple, and much less expensive to make yourself.
“My Best Hummus”
1 cup dried chickpeas
Coarse seal salt
1/4 cup tahini, preferably organic
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1-2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Ground Cumin and crushed hot red pepper
1. In a large bowl, soak the chickpeas with 3 cups of water and 2 tablespoons coarse salt for at least 12 hours.
2. Drain the chickpeas, rinse them well and put them in a earthenware pot. ( I used my flameware cazuela) Set to low-medium heat and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook, partially covered, until the chickpeas are very tender, about 2 hours. Add more water if it evaporates.
3. Drain the chickpeas, reserving about 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Working by the handful, submerge the chickpeas in a deep pot or bowl of cold water and rub the chickpeas between your hands and rub and pinch off the skins. The skins will rise to the surface, remove and discard them. Repeat with the remaining handfuls of chickpeas. Set aside about 1/4 cup peeled chickpeas for garnish. (It only takes around 10 minutes to shell the chickpeas.)
4. Stir up the tahini in its jar with the oil until well blended. Place the tahini in blender jar and blend the tahini, garlic, and lemon juices until the mixture “whitens.” With the machine running, add the reserved liquor. Add the 1 3/4 cups peeled chickpeas and process until smooth and glossy. Correct the seasoning with salt and lemon juice. (I added quite a bit more lemon juice.) Allow the hummus to mellow at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. (This part is REALLY hard.)
5. To serve as a dip, spread the puree on a shallow serving dish. Use the back of a spoon to make a well in the center, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with cumin and/ or hot pepper, and scatter the remaining chickpeas on top.
There are shortcuts to creating this recipe. You could use canned chickpeas, or bottled lemon juice. I would recommend not doing either. You would be amazed how much changing certain aspects of Paula’s recipes affects the flavor. I also think that shelling your own chickpeas invests you into the dish, and you become connected to it. This same connection is found through using earthenware to prepare the dish. I have a pottery lemon juicer my mom gave me for Christmas. I was excited to have a recipe to use my new piece. I would recommend experimenting with different spices. Get creative! If you find something delicious, let us know. We would love to hear any suggestions or ideas you may have.