(Pictured above: First trip to Israel, all part of the hummus story)
Call me sacrilegious – I’ve put heavy cream in this hummus. Yes it’s an affront to vegans; vegans who blindly trust this garbanzo staple as animal-free protein. It’s an offense to the many cultures who claim hummus as their own; to the very history of the dip itself. But… I had heavy cream in my fridge, and I’ve been thinking a lot about food and story and the things that make us shake things up at the kitchen table. So hear me out on this one.
Hummus is a dish of dubious origin. A google search will yield anything from Lebanese to Greek and the earliest mention of hummus heralds from Egypt. Hummus is beloved around the world – including in modern Israel – where it joins falafel as a controversial borrowed (and “national”) dish of the country’s Arab inhabitants (fun fact: hummus actually just means “chickpea” in Arabic).
(the ever-present Israeli hummus)
Like all dishes of dubious origin, hummus is a shape-shifter. In Lebanese cuisine its a side-dish, in Israel it takes front and center. In Turkey there’s rumored to be the addition of butter. In New York’s trendy soho neighbor you can even get hummus in your yogurt (thanks Chobani!).
So my point being – I’m not the only one playing here. And despite the fact that this recent hummus-venture was inspired by a cook-from-your-cookbooks New Years resolution, I decided to take some liberties with the written recipe. For example, the original calls for dried chickpeas boiled with baking soda, but for the sake of time, Goya all the way:
Quick cooking lentils replace the fava topping under the same guise (time!) and Meyer Lemons add a sweet burst.
And the cream? I’ve got half a carton in my fridge, and I hate waste. And I’ve got half a carton in my fridge from last week’s cooking adventure – blintzes – a New York comfort food that hints more at places missed than the Middle East. Every dish has its context, and on the night I made hummus, mine was steeped in the hunger of a long day, a small blender, and the leftovers from a search for Slavic solace below the Mason Dixon line.
So I implore you to find your own story; and to revel in the way that it changes a recipe. Replace the lentils, replace the chickpeas, cut the cream or go Turkish and heap some butter in there too. Write your own story and then find your right conclusion:
(hummus and HBO)
Hummus with Fake “Ful”
Adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
“Ful” is the translation for fava bean and “hummus and ful” refers to hummus topped with a fava, generally in some type of cooked stew. This is basically nothing like real ful, but its an easy nod to the concept of legumes topped with legumes – filling and delicious!
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
3/4 C tahini
1/4 C lemon juice
1/4 C heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 C lentils
1 1/4 C water
5 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/3 C lemon juice
salt and pepper
- Combine all hummus ingredients in a blender and process until smooth, adding more cream if too chunky, or more tahini if it becomes too creamy. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook lentils in 1 1/4 C of water – bringing to a boil and then simmering on low-medium heat. When lentils are soft, rinse under cold water and drain.
- Toast smashed garlic for ful in a cast-iron pan or frying pan on low heat. Add cooked lentils, lemon juice and spices (saffron is another great addition here – though not needed!). Keep on heat for 5-7 minutes. Remove.
- Assemble your hummus and “ful.” First, hummus on the plate, topped with your lentil “ful.” Keep it going from here – you can add anything from greens, to roasted vegetables, to a simple drizzle of olive oil and some more salt and pepper. Bon appetit!