Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Chickpea Dip aka Hummus...

The first cookbook I've worked with is called The Philosopher's Kitchen, by Francine Segan.  She scoured through ancient sources and updated the recipes for today's kitchens.  I've been a bit limited in what I can bring, since I've been making the recipes the night before and taking them to class at 9 in the morning.  So I have stuck mainly with cold dishes, appetizers or desserts.  Here is my first attempt.

Chickpeas were found in ancient Greece on the island of Lesbos where Sappho is said to have written her poetry.  While she did not create recipes or publish cookbooks, she did mention chickpeas growing wild in a poetry fragment that has been discovered. "Golden chickpeas/growing on the seashore...Earth of the many chaplets/puts on her embroidery"  Here is Segan's recipe, inspired by the poetry of Sappho, and re-created in my kitchen in West Olympia, Washington. 

I sauteed one large onion in 1/4 cup of olive oil until shimmery, about 10 minutes.  I added the chickpeas (I used 1 can, drained), dried oregano, a bay leaf, chicken stock and salt and pepper.  I brought that to a boil, then lowered the heat and let it simmer until the chickpeas were tender and the liquid had reduced, maybe a half hour or so.  I set it aside to cool and threw out the bay leaf.  After the mixture cooled, I put it into the Cuisinart along with 2 garlic cloves, another 1/4 cup of olive oil, and lemon juice from one lemon.  I pureed it until it was all mixed but still course in texture.  I topped the pureed mixture with lemon zest and fresh mint and put it in a covered bowl in the fridge.  After thinking about it and checking it about a half hour later, I was overwhelmed by the smell of the mint and scraped most of it off.  The small bit remaining, I stirred it into the puree with the lemon zest. 

I served this the next morning with salted pita chips and baby carrots.  It was full of flavor and the lemon added just the right tang - something that store-bought hummus is generally missing.  It was VERY good.

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