My whole family loves to eat hummus. We enjoy it as a dip with pita bread or carrot sticks and we also use it as a sandwich spread or even thinned out to be a sauce on top of other foods. Since we eat it pretty regularly, I have been making it at home for years now and my method is absolutely simple. I puree cooked garbanzo beans (also known as chick peas) with garlic, olive oil, sesame seeds, lemon, salt and enough water or bean cooking liquid to make a creamy dip. I usually pour the hummus out of the blender into two different bowls and then doctor one bowl up with hot sauce to make it spicy for those who like a little kick. The other bowl I leave as is or I add whatever flavors strike my fancy at the moment. My kids love olives so a spoonful of olive tapenade is popular, I also make a simple herb and olive oil add-in that tastes great.
Although my recipe is simple and delicious, I have always wondered if there was anything more I could do to try and replicate the silky smooth texture of my favorite brand of store bought hummus, Sabra. I have considered forcing the puree through a very fine sieve or chinoise strainer, but it seemed like it would take a delightfully simple recipe and turn it into a labor intensive special occasion recipe, which I didn’t want to do.
Then I purchased a food mill to make fruit butters and fruit sauces, and I realized that the fine strainer of the food mill would probably be just the right thing to hold back the garbanzo bean skins while forcing through the pureed beans, resulting in a finer and hopefully silky texture. I soaked and boiled a pound of garbanzos and then ran half of them through the food mill using the finest strainer. Although it does add a step to an otherwise simple process, using the food mill is relatively quick and fuss free.
After running the beans through the mill, I added the bean paste to the blender with the rest of the ingredients; one garlic clove, 1/4 cup of toasted sesame seeds (untoasted are good too), the juice of one lemon, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 cup of good extra virgin olive oil. I turned on the blender and added the bean cooking water until the contents began to look creamy and thoroughly blended.
The taste test confirmed that this batch of hummus was noticeably smoother and still had that great taste that we love! Although it adds an extra step and an extra item to clean, from now on I am using my food mill to make my beloved hummus. Sometimes it is just the smallest tweak to a recipe or a process that takes the whole thing from good to great.
(This post is participating in the On My Mind feature at http://down—to—earth.blogspot.com/ and in Real Food Wednesdays at http://kellythekitchenkop.com/2011/09/real-food-wednesday-9282011.html and in the Patchwork Living Blogging Bee #7 at http://www.attainable-sustainable.net/patchwork-living-blogging-bee-7/)