For a lot of harried, young cooks, store-bought tubs of hummus are subsistence-level forms of nourishment, akin to cereal, peanut butter, and even sardines.
For the slightly more domestically inclined, over on Big Girls, Small Kitchen we’ve offered loads of hummus and hummus-like recipes that entail just opening a can or two and blending—favorites include chipotle hummus, white bean dip, and black bean dip.)
But there is more to our beloved dip than even this.
Have you ever been to a really good Greek or Middle Eastern restaurant–or better yet, to Greece or the Middle East? The kind of cafe where not only the pita, but also the hummus, comes out warm, and the dip is fluffy and creamy and slightly tangy?
This kind of hummus is best made from dried chickpeas, which get cooked to creamy perfection, blended with generous spoonfuls of tahini, olive oil, and lemon, and served before it cools in the fridge.
Because it’s hard to time the cooking of dried beans perfectly, since it depends on the freshness of your beans, the slow-cooker doesn’t always work for making chickpeas—you risk that they’ll wind up overcooked while you’re at work. Fortunately, beans for hummus need not be attractive like beans for salad; they can even be a little falling apart. By slow-cooking beans all day, they’ll be ready for you to make your dip as soon as you walk in the door.
So the end process for perfect creamy hummus that’s not such a crazy commitment goes something like this: the night before you want to eat hummus, soak some chickpeas. The next morning, put the beans in the slow-cooker on low and leave them all day. When you get home, simply blend the softened beans with the remaining hummus ingredients, and you’ve created an exquisite warm dip that’s a far cry from the purchased stuff. Go all quarter-life with it and dip pita chips in while you stare at the TV. Or make it the deserving center of a mezze platter for friends.
Rich Homemade Hummus
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons salt
juice of 2 lemons
3 1/2 cups Slow-Cooked Chickpeas
1/2 cup tahini
1/4 teaspoon cumin
about 1 cup olive oil
Place the garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt in a food processor. (If you have a mini prep, you’ll have to do this in two batches.) Process until the garlic is pureed, then add the lemon juice. Pulse again.
Reserving a few chickpeaas for garnish, add 3 1/2 cups of chickpeas (that’s about what the slow cooker should have yielded) and 1/4 cup of their cooking liquid. Add the tahini, the cumin, and 1/2 cup olive oil, and pulse to create a dip, adding more tablespoons of cooking liquid as you go as necessary to make a smooth paste. Drizzle in most of the rest of the olive oil and the second teaspoon of salt, tasting as you go until the hummus is rich and creamy.
Scrape the hummus into a bowl. Top with a few chickpeas, drizzle with a little more olive oil, and sprinkle with cumin. Serve with warm triangles of pita.