Hummus Three Ways: Basic, Balsamic, and Chipotle

Hummus Three Ways: Basic, Balsamic, and Chipotle | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Hummus Three Ways: Basic, Balsamic, and Chipotle | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Hummus Three Ways: Basic, Balsamic, and Chipotle | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Hummus Three Ways: Basic, Balsamic, and Chipotle | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Hummus Three Ways: Basic, Balsamic, and Chipotle | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Hummus Three Ways: Basic, Balsamic, and Chipotle | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Hummus Three Ways: Basic, Balsamic, and Chipotle | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

There are some foods that have such a sense of place. For me, scallops take me back to the first time I gathered the courage to taste them – my dad had doused them in a carrot sauce – on the back patio of my childhood home. Deeper n’ ever pie takes me to my mom’s kitchen. Beer bread takes me to my apartment, senior year of college, my friend Rosie and I standing in the kitchen, waiting impatiently for the bread to cool so we could eat a slice. Annie’s mac n’ cheese takes me to the early days of my relationship with Jonah, standing in his college kitchen, scraping the pot of the tangy cheese sauce to procrastinate on our studies.

Hummus was never a food I loved growing up. I never understood why you would purée beans and then dip dry, bland pita chips in it. I would’ve rather eaten broccoli dipped in ranch, or Doritos, or almost anything else you would find hummus next to at the food table at whatever party you were at. It was cold, thick, and grainy, and seemed like a punishment to have to eat. I avoided eating it mostly until the past few years. I remember a hike that my dad and I went on, and we took a little tub of Sabra’s roasted garlic hummus to the top of Little Si outside Seattle and nearly polished the whole thing off. From then on, Sabra was the standard for me: rich, creamy, and smooth. At parties, I stopped avoiding hummus altogether, but I never really sought it out.

When I went to Israel a couple years ago, I knew I was going to eat the best hummus of my life. And I did, four times over. I ate hummus dusted with za’atar, hummus slathered in olive oil, hummus sprinkled with ground lamb and pine nuts, and hummus dolloped with roasted mushrooms. I would go back to Israel just for the hummus, eaten in the Jerusalem heat, watching the city bustle around me as I sat licking my fingers. When I got back from that trip, I started making my own hummus – I have become a snob about it, and I futzed with Ottolenghi’s recipe until it was as close as possible to the plates I scraped in Israel.

A couple of months ago, Jonah and I were winding down our trip around the world in the Netherlands. We were staying with my aforementioned college roommate Rosie and her boyfriend Simon in Wageningen, and she was hosting a birthday party. Funnily enough, a couple other friends of ours from college were there as well. I asked one of them for food recommendations in Amsterdam, where we were heading next for our last international stop, and she told me about a place called Sir Hummus that served, you guessed it, hummus. But real, smooth, warm hummus, she said. A few days later we were wandering the streets of Amsterdam with friends from Portland, we needed lunch, and we were near Sir Hummus. So we ducked inside and found ourselves looking at a small space with an even smaller menu. Despite the chill outside, in here it was colorful and warm, and beautiful bowls of hummus topped with braised meat, chickpeas, smoky soft boiled eggs, and pickled onions floated by, accompanied by steaming pitas. This hummus took me right back to Israel, swirling and dunking the super soft bread through the dip.

Now hummus is a mainstay for me. Something I make regularly. And it has that sense of place too, but the places are spread across the world: the top of Little Si, on a side street in Jerusalem, July 4th barbecues, a small storefront in Amsterdam, and now, our new apartment. If you ask me, there’s no way to break in a kitchen than with a dish that reminds you of home.

Hummus Three Ways

Adapted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sam Tamimi

Ingredients

Basic Hummus

1 1/4 cups dried chickpeas
1 tsp baking soda
6 1/2 cups water
1 cup tahini
6 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
4-6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
salt
3-6 Tbsp ice water
Olive oil and za’atar for serving (optional)

Balsamic Hummus

4 1/2 Tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar, more to taste
You’ll also only need 2-4 Tbsp lemon, not the 6 as written above

Chipotle Hummus

1-3 chipotle peppers, roughly chopped
1-3 tsp adobo sauce from chipotle peppers

Instructions

Basic Hummus

Soak the chickpeas overnight the night before you plan to make the hummus, in water at least twice their volume. The next day, drain the chickpeas. In a large saucepan, combine the chickpeas and baking soda. Put over medium-high heat and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the 6 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cook for 20-40 minutes, or until the chickpeas can easily be mushed between your fingers. While the chickpeas are cooking, skim the foam off the pot and remove any skins that float to the surface. When the chickpeas are cooked, drain them in a strainer.

Put the chickpeas in a food processor and blend them until you have a thick paste. Add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Blend again, until everything is thoroughly mixed – you’ll want to stop once or twice and scrape up the tahini from the bottom corners of your food processor. Taste and add more garlic, lemon, or salt to taste. Drizzle in 3 Tbsp of the ice water and turn on the food processor, letting it run for a few minutes now, until you’ve achieved a beautifully smooth paste.

Let the hummus come to room temperature, drizzle with olive oil and za’atar, and enjoy. You can also cover it and refrigerate it until you’d like to eat it, but remove it from the fridge half an hour beforehand so it can come to room temperature.

Balsamic Hummus

Same as above except when you add the tahini, garlic and salt, add balsamic vinegar and 2 Tbsp lemon juice. Taste and add more balsamic, garlic, lemon, or salt to taste. Continue with the recipe as written above.

Chipotle Hummus

Same as above except when you add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt, add 1 chipotle pepper and 1 tsp of adobo sauce. Taste and add more peppers and sauce to achieve desired spice level. You can also add more lemon juice, salt, and garlic to taste. Continue with the recipe as written above.

2 comments

  1. Love your post!!! such an incredibly important topic, hummus. Thanks for the in depth and passionate reporting. I’m gonna have to go get some right now

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