The Bean Project – Hummus

So far from the royals! Return to reality and embrace the common chickpea – the lowly garbanzo bean – unassuming in appearance but full of protein. The other day reaching for a container of hummus at the Co-op, I wondered why am I always buying this. I should try to make it.

The day I tried was also the day I’d been up from two to four in the morning, wrapped in a blanket in front of my computer, streaming BBC to watch the wedding live. All the sleepy day later, I kept thinking how we never get out of bed in the middle of the night for a happy event. So it was a strange treat to join people all over the world (not watching a disaster or a revolution either), without commentators or commercials, just cameras and sound – like being a pigeon in the abbey rafters.

Wanting the hummus sooner rather than later, and having neither dried garbanzos nor the two hours needed to cook, I noticed Bittman’s recipe says: “This is a good place to use canned chickpeas.” He warned that hummus can taste too much like raw garlic but promised his was “smoother and more complex in flavor.”

Following his directions, I combined two cups of canned chickpeas, half-cup of tahini (I had roasted tahini), quarter-cup of olive oil, a small clove of garlic peeled (Bittman also recommends roasted garlic), salt and freshly ground black pepper, one tablespoon ground cumin (or to taste), and the juice of one lemon (I had a Meyer lemon) in the container of the food processor. After beginning to process, add up to half-cup of water as needed to make a smooth puree.

Mine took a while to get smooth – I used the whole half-cup of water – but maybe should have just processed longer.

At the end after tasting, Bittman says to add more garlic, salt, lemon juice or cumin if needed.

It’s good – and rich with possible variables and additions. My friend on the bluff who makes it often doesn’t use a recipe anymore – hers is tasty.

I want to try Bittman’s “Roasted Chickpeas” with the leftover beans – adding olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper before roasting at 400° for about 15 minutes. Bittman says you can sprinkle with chili powder or curry powder – crisp on the outside, smooth inside – sounds a good snack.

Next royal wedding I’ll make some ahead of time!

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