Friday, April 22, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus With Pita Chips

I've been wanting to make hummus for a while but never remembered to look for tahini (one of the main components) at the grocery store. I was able to pick some up the other week and decided it was time to treat myself to some homemade hummus.

Apart from the difficulty of tracking down tahini, hummus is really easy to make. It takes about 5 minutes, and you can easily customize it to suit your personal tastes.

The first thing I did was open the can of garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas). I drained off the liquid but kept it nearby. It's nice to save in case you need to thin the hummus later.

Dump the chickpeas into your handy-dandy food processor.

Add a big spoonful of tahini to the chickpeas.

Tahini is a paste made of sesame seeds and olive oil. You can keep tahini in the fridge for several months after opening. I bought mine from a co-op, but I think you can find it in some grocery stores, online, or you could make your own (which, given the amount of seeds, wouldn't be cheap, but I bet it would taste good.)

I'd start with a small spoonful and then add more as needed.

I gave the processor a quick whirr, just to make a little room for the rest of the ingredients. I added some lemon juice--you could add as little as a couple tablespoons, but after tasting and re-tasting, I ended up adding the juice of a whole lemon, which is about 1/4 a cup. Again, like the tahini, start with the smallest amount and then add more if your taste buds desire.

Roasted red peppers gave my hummus a nice red color and a gentle peppery flavor.

I initially added two large pieces of pepper, and then added another one later on. My small jar was 4 oz.; I think I added around 3/4 of the jar.

A couple cloves of garlic were next--I love garlic so I added three cloves. You could leave it out if you don't like garlic, or you could add as many cloves as you like.

I seasoned everything with just a tiny bit of salt, and a sprinkling of cayenne pepper. I wanted a fair amount of heat, so I added about half a teaspoon of cayenne.

A drizzle of olive oil will smooth out the hummus and add a little richness.

Give the food processor a quick grind. If your mixture is too thick, add the liquid from the beans a bit at a time.

And, with just a few spins of your food processor, you'll have yourself some hummus!

I love hummus with pita bread.

To make pita chips, I use a scissors to cut the pitas into wedges.

I lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and give them a light drizzle of olive oil.

If you wanted, now would be a good time to add some coarse salt or a light coating of spice (maybe Ras el Hanout or some five spice) to add an additional depth of flavor.

The chips went into a 350F oven; 15 minutes for warmed pitas, 25-30 for crisp chips.

I love to eat hummus drizzled with some olive oil with pita chips and cold slices of cucumber. Heaven!

Of course, this is an easy recipe to customize. Leave the red pepper out and you've got ordinary hummus. Roast your garlic over the stove or in the oven and you've got roasted garlic hummus. Make it more Mediterranean by using sundried or roasted tomatoes, and top with shredded basil or hummus, and some pine nuts. Use black beans and chipotles for a southwestern app. There are even recipes out there for fruit hummuses!

Recipe: Roasted Red Pepper Hummus With Pita Chips

1 can garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas); reserve liquid
1 spoonful (about 1/4-1/3 c.) tahini
3 tbsp. lemon juice (start with that and add more as desired)
3 oz. roasted red peppers
2-3 garlic cloves
pinch (or more, if desired) cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil

pita bread
olive oil

In a food processor, combine chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, red peppers, garlic, salt, cayenne pepper, and olive oil. Add canned liquid from beans if mixture is too thick. Pulse until mixture is smooth and all ingredients have been pureed and well-combined. Adjust flavors for personal taste.

Cut pita bread into wedges. Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet; drizzle lightly with olive oil. Bake at 350F for 15-30 minutes (depending on crunch preference.)


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