Posted by Stephanie Simpson on
Friends are a great source of food inspiration.
Knowing what you like, they tip you off to new recipes that become old favourites. Knowing what you don’t, they take care to guide you beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone, introducing you to things you’d never dare try on your own. And when whatever it is that they’re eating smells so good, they’re more than happy to share.
So when it comes to sharing food with you guys, I’m always looking to friends for inspiration. And right now, my friends are all about chickpeas. And for good reason.
While they’re not the flashiest food around — in fact, they do look a bit like teeny, disassembled fowls — chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are cool little legumes. First showing up on the scene over 5000 years ago, chickpeas have since treated the ancients’ medical ailments, stood in as a wartime substitute for coffee beans, and loaned their Latin name of cicer to the Roman historian, Cicero. They’ve also, of course, been eaten.
Curried, marinated, smashed, roasted and ground: through time, and in my friends’ kitchens, chickpeas have seen it all. Which isn’t much of a surprise, considering that chickpeas kind of have it all: they’re sturdy and packed with protein, fiber and a handful of snazzy minerals. They store well and cook easily. And their unique, mild flavour makes them happy to hang out solo or in the company of other ingredients.
Clever, my friends are, to be big on chickpeas. So today, I’m taking my cues from them and sharing a chickpea classic: hummus.
The recipe is a simple one: just eight ingredients (three of which are tasty garnishes), whizzed into delicious oblivion. Well-balanced in its ratio of the hummus standards — chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic and tahini — the flavours come together after the hummus has had a bit of time to sit, so make it a few hours before you intend to eat it. If, when the time comes, you find that it’s not quite doing it for you, simply pop the whole thing back into your food processor and adjust away.
The recipe as written makes a ton (when one ton equals roughly four cups), but my guess is that you’ll have no trouble polishing off a batch by yourself. So double it, and share something healthy, tasty, and happy with those fantastic friends of yours.
Simple, Oh-so-good, Hummus
Adapted from smitten kitchen
Makes roughly 4 cups
4 cups cooked chickpeas*
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
3/4 tsp salt, divided (I used sea salt)
1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
1/2 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice (about 2 large lemons)
1/2 cup of water
A good glug of olive oil
2 tbsp chopped, fresh parsley
A big pinch of hot smoked paprika or other tasty spice
1. In a mortar and pestle, bash together the garlic and 1/2 tsp salt until you’ve made a garlic paste.** Transfer the paste, along with the tahini and lemon juice to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the ingredients form a thick paste. Add the water and pulse again until the mixture is smooth.
2. Add the chickpeas to the food processor and process until the hummus is smooth. Taste and adjust with more salt, lemon juice, tahini, and water until you’ve achieved the taste and consistency you’re after.*** Transfer hummus to a bowl, let it sit in the fridge for a day if you can, and top with olive oil, fresh parsley and paprika before serving.
*You can either use canned chickpeas (remember to drain and rinse them before using), or cook them yourself. To do the latter, check out the instructions for cooking dried chickpeas here!
**If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can smush the garlic and salt together against a cutting board using the broad side of a knife. Alternatively, you can mince the garlic using a knife or a food processor — this won’t draw out the flavour of the garlic as much and won’t produce as smooth of a hummus, but it’ll still be super-tasty.
***Note again that the flavours of the hummus will come together and intensify more as you let it sit. This stuff is best made a day, or at least a few hours, before you intend to dig in.