Hummous is one of those wonderfully earthy, satisfying, delicious foods. It can be simple or sophisticated and it can serve as the heart of a basic meal or a tasty component of a complicated one. Best of all, it's quite easy to make.
I'd made hummous half a dozen times before I found this recipe by chef Ana Sortun (though I have made a few small modifications on her original.) Previously, my hummous recipe had included a small amount of raw garlic and lots of cilantro in addition to the usual chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and salt. And it was good! But now I am so partial to this version that I may never go back...
The thing that makes this hummous special is the big dose of caramelized onions and garlic it includes. It does take a little more time to prepare since you have to add in an extra peeling and cooking step but I think the sweet, mellow taste (and the fact that you will not reek of garlic for half a day after eating it) are well worth the extra 25-30 minutes of prep time.
As Nadia and I planned the menu for our Mediterranean feast, including this hummous seemed like a no-brainer, even though it is technically middle eastern.
You can make extra hummous if you like. Kept in an airtight dish in the fridge without the toppings, this will keep for several days and makes quite a tasty snack with some pita or flat bread.
Hummus With Caramelized Onions & Garlic Topped With Golden Beets, Toasted Pine Nuts & Greek Yogurt
* 2 cans organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained (you can also use 1 cup dried but I never leave enough time for all that soaking and cooking)
* 6 tbsp organic olive oil, plus more for caramelizing the onions & garlic
* 3 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
* 2 large or 3 small yellow onions, chopped
* 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
* 2 tbsp tahini
* Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
* 4 large beets, preferably the golden or chioggia varieties
* 2 tbsp pinenuts
* 1/4 cup thick greek yogurt
1. Prepare the beets: remove the beet greens (you can reserve them for some other purpose if you like) and place the beets in a small saucepan. Cover with water by one inch and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer gently. Cook until the beets are tender when pierced with a fork, about 35-45 minutes, depending on the size of the beets. Drain and peel once they are cool enough to handle (the skins will slip off in the most satisfying way.) Cut the beets into a 1/4 inch dice. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil and set aside.
2. Caramelize the onions and garlic: heat 2-3 tbsp olive oil in a medium frying pan or skillet until medium hot. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until the onions are very soft and a rich caramel color, about 25 minutes total. Season with salt and pepper.
3. In the bowl of a cuisinart (you can use a blender if that is all you have but I warn you that it will be quite challenging), combine the drained chickpeas, caramelized onions and garlic, tahini, lemon juice, a tsp or 2 of salt, and several tbsps of olive oil. Process on medium speed, stopping to add more oil as needed. Taste as you go and adjust the amounts - you can add more lemon juice, tahini, salt, pepper or olive oil, depending on the taste and texture that appeals most to you (some people like their hummous chunky, others prefer it smooth and silky.)
4. Toast the pinenuts in a small skillet, turning often, until light brown (watch closely or they will burn - it does not take very long.)
5. Turn the hummous into a shallow, wide bowl and top with the yogurt, cubed beets and pinenuts (I included some sprigs of cilantro, as well).