Friday, February 13, 2009

Technique Week: Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Hummus

This is a recipe I developed for a friend of mine who is opening a cafe in Collierville. I'm not a huge fan of hummus, so I looked at it as a challenge. I set out to make a hummus that tastes good to me. I did this by playing down the traditional spices, and dialing up the smoky sweetness of roasted veggies. 

The Wife and I decided that next week will be technique week. We will discuss more in-depth the techniques we use in the kitchen to turn good results into great results. This is a good recipe to start with. Although it is simple, there are a few key techniques to making it truly successful.

Ingredients:

1 red pepper (roasted, stemmed, and seeded)
1 small head of garlic (roasted)
1 can of chickpeas (rinsed)
1 tsp of tahini
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
drizzle of honey
S & P to taste

Roasting a red pepper:
There is something thrilling about intentionally burning something, which is why I love to roast my own red peppers. I take it outside to the gas grill, and set it over a high flame. I allow each side to burn black before I turn it. Once the entire pepper is black I pick it up with some grill tongs, and put it into a paper bag. The pepper will rest there until it is cool enough to handle. At this point I will pull the pepper out of the bag, remove the stem, remove the seeds, and pull the bunt skin away from the flesh. Some people run the pepper under water as they do this, but I like to leave some of the char as it adds smokiness and character.

Roasting Garlic:
This is the best way to take the garlic from heat to sweet. Pull out a small sheet of foil, place the whole head of garlic in the center, and drizzle with about 1/4 tsp of olive oil. Gather the foil around the garlic. Now you are ready to throw it into a 350 degree oven, or the top tear of the grill as I did for this recipe. Either way it takes about 10 or 15 minutes to soften the garlic. Remove garlic from the heat and allow it to cool while still wrapped in the foil. Once it is cool enough to handle, unwrap it, and set it on a cutting board. slice off the pointed end with a sharp knife. Now take the flat edge of your knife and push down on the garlic bulb. The roasted garlic should squeeze out like toothpaste. Cool huh?
Toasting Spices:
In a pan over medium heat, toast the cumin and coriander in the olive oil. Once they become fragrant remove the pan from the heat, and allow the olive oil to cool. This only takes a minute or two, but it makes all the difference in the world when using Indian and Middle Eastern spices. It takes that raw spice flavor and turns it smoother, nuttier, and milder.

Ok. Now all we need to do is to assemble the hummus. Place all ingredients into a food processor, and let'er rip. Some people like it smooth, some people like it chunkier. You do what you like. I like it somewhere in between. I made this for lunch this week and it was wonderful. I served it on greek pita with sliced cucumbers, lettuce, crumbled feta, and tomatoes. Once you taste homemade hummus you will never get that nasty, store-bought, pasty stuff ever again.


5 comments:

Bianca said...

Don't like hummus! What kind of vegetarian are you?! :-)

But seriously, this does sound delicious. Playing down the tahini probably gives it a very different taste. And I'll have to try that spice technique. I'm gonna make this!

Chris said...

Thanks for the tips! I've never made my own hummus, but your advice makes me feel like a master already.

Jen said...

This hummus is fantastic! I just made it:D Thanks so much:D

disa said...
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Puja said...

I happened to stumble upon your recipe while searching for a garlic/red pepper humus recipe. What an amazing recipe! thank you for detailing HOW to roast the garlic and red peppers :) I used 2 teaspoons of tahini instead of 1 and I put in about 1/4 cup of chili garlic hot sauce (I love spicy food). YUMMM.