Did I really never post a hummus recipe before? Considering the large amounts of hummus consumed in our house every week, it’s high time I filled in that gap. Because it combines wonderful flavour with being healthy, versatile and ready in no time, hummus is the kind of food of which everyone should have a few recipes ready at hand. So here’s one of ours, with the warm, smoky flavour of roasted red pepper.
Do you ever have one of those days in which things turn out so differently from the way you pictured them and you just don’t seem able to respond to this in the flexible manner you’d like? After a few very busy weeks, last Saturday marked the start of an eagerly anticipated weekend completely void of plans and obligations. I would start this perfect day, so I pictured, by treating my family to lovingly prepared, freshly baked muffins for breakfast; for dinner I’d cook my quinoa burgers by request and the hours in between would be filled with family quality time only. Due to an unfortunate recipe adaptation, though, my foolproof muffins wouldn’t cook – not by putting them back in the oven for ten minutes and no, not with another twenty or thirty either. Around half past one I accepted the fact that my caring breakfast baking wasn’t going to result in a yummy treat for whichever moment of the day anymore and I turned to prepping the quinoa burgers. Distracted by my youngest returning from a sleepover happily but tired, I overcooked the quinoa until charred and smoking, decided to start over and that was the end of me being just the least bit flexible or good company.
As I was chopping up mushrooms and herbs, I saw my husband peeling chickpeas, but by then I was too annoyed with myself to take any notice. When I put the last burger on the baking tray, after spending most of the day being clumsy and inefficient in the kitchen, he put me on the couch, facing a big pile of crackers and a bowl of the most creamy, full-flavoured hummus ever. And within seconds I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.
So there you have it: this hummus is capable of saving weekends and magically lifting your spirit, no less. On a more moderate level, it’s a lovely spread to have stacked in your fridge, as a topping for bread or burgers, or just as a midday treat. And putting a big bowl of this on the table at gatherings, combined to taste with warm flatbread, crudités or crisp-roasted spiced chickpeas, will gain you new friends, I can promise you that.
Enjoy your leasurely cooking!
Hummus with smoky roasted red pepper
- 1½ Romano pepper, halved lengthwise and deseeded, or 1½ red bell pepper, quartered and deseeded
- 1 400 g can of chickpeas (drained weight 260 g), rinsed and drained
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced
- juice of 1 lemon
- 3 tbsp. tahini
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. ground coriander seeds
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. paprika (you can use smoked paprika if you like your hummus extra smoky)
- 1 tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for garnish
- few sprigs of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped, for garnish
Plus optional extras: flatbread or crudités for dipping, or roasted spiced chickpeas, to top.
Heat the oven grill to high and line a baking tray with aluminium foil. Put the pepper pieces on the tray, skin side up, and place them under the grill until the skins are completely black. In my oven this takes 5 minutes, but it may be wise to keep an eye out. Take the peppers out, then leave to cool.
Meanwhile, peel the chickpeas. I’ll immediately say that this is optional! When using canned chickpeas, it’s very easy to squeeze them out of their skins and I usually prefer to do so, because this will make the hummus deliciously light and creamy. I can imagine, though, that most people won’t even consider peeling every single chickpea and it isn’t a necessity. Using the chickpeas straight from their can will yield a slightly more dense and fibrous hummus, but several of my friends have told me that’s just the way they like it. So it’s up to you.
Remove the skin from the pepper pieces. Cut half a pepper in small cubes and keep these for garnish. Retain a few chickpeas for garnish as well, if you’re not using roasted ones.
Put the remaining ingredients, minus the parsley, in a food processor and whizz to a light, creamy mass.
Spoon the hummus into a bowl and top to taste with the pepper pieces, the roasted chickpeas or the retained chickpeas, the parsley and some extra olive oil.