RICH HOMEMADE HUMMUS

It’s slow cooker week here on BGSK and SKC! All week long, we’re teaming up with Kelsey Banfield, The Naptime Chef , to bring you the first ever Slow Cooker Challenge. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway, and read on for another great slow cooked recipe!

For a lot of quarter-life cooks, store-bought tubs of hummus are subsistence-level forms of nourishment, akin to cereal and peanut butter, or, in Alex’s case, sardines.

For the slightly more domestically inclined, we’ve offered loads of hummus and hummus-like recipes that entail just opening a can or two and blending. (Here’s 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 (I like the ones at Balaboosta, Taboon, and Waterfalls Cafe) is best made from dried chickpeas, which get cooked to creamy perfection, blended with generous spoonfuls of tahini, olive oil, and lemon, and served still warm.

Now I know dried beans are cheap and good, and I do buy them from the bulk bin occasionally and take the time to cook them up. But not as much as I’d like. To make a pot of beans, you have to commit to being around for a while. You more or less have to watch the beans cook (and we all know what happens to a watched pot, right?), tasting them every 30 minutes to monitor their consistency, removing them from the heat when they’re neither too hard nor too soft. It’s hard to time this perfectly, since cooking time depends on the freshness of your beans, which you have no way of knowing.

The slow cooker solves one part of this problem: not having to leave the house with the burner on. But if you are away, and your beans get overcooked, you won’t confidently be able to use them in a bean salad. Fortunately, beans for hummus need not be attractive; they can even be a little falling apart. You don’t have to obsess over their texture.

Ingredients
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 3 1/2 cups Freshly Cooked Chickpeas (Recipe Follows)
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • about 1 cup olive oil

INTRUCTIONS
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
NOTE: If you’re trying to speed up the pace, you can skip the overnight soak. Instead, place the chickpeas in a pot, cover them with two inches of water, and bring to a boil. Turn off the water and let them sit for 1 hour. Then proceed with the recipe.

Place the soaked chickpeas, the garlic, and the olive oil in a slow-cooker. Add water to cover the chickpeas by at least 4 inches, then place the lid on and turn the slow-cooker to low. Cook for about 6 hours on high or 12 hours on low, until the chickpeas have almost no resistance when you bite into them. Add the salt, then cook until they’re completely soft. Turn off the slow cooker and drain the chickpeas, reserving the liquid in a bowl. (Store any extra chickpeas in their liquid in the fridge.)

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