Wow! July Fourth is coming up fast, and that means cook-outs! Sure, you could have potato chips and French onion dip, but why not break out of the rut and have something different? Something that — because we know you’ll probably over-indulge just a bit — we’re sure, is a little healthier, but still so tasty you really want to keep eating it.
Of course, as the title says, Black bean hummus! Yes, we know you’ve had regular hummus, and this is similar, but it corrects two flaws that we find in regular hummus. One: that kind of dry, dusty taste from the chickpeas, and two: most hummus seems to be subsidized by the town of Gilroy, CA (hint: garlic capital of the world).
Makes about 1-1/2 quarts.
Tahini is a paste made from roasted ground sesame seeds. We haven’t tried our hand at making it, but we found a can at the local food co-op, and it lasted through several batches of hummus, a couple of stir-frys (it’s sort of like peanut sauce), and a variety of other things. If you like hummus and want to make it regularly, it’s a no-brainer to buy. Ground cumin, 3 tablespoons will empty those spice jars at the grocery. Head on down to your local ethnic market where you can buy it in bulk. Finally, we hear you people from Gilroy: yes, you can add garlic. We just didn’t.
Procedure in detail:
Soak beans. We just pour the bag of beans into our cooking pan, add water to cover by a few inches, and set it out of the way until the morning. Just don’t forget about it or you’ll have an uncontrolled science experiment going in a few days.
Drain and rinse. In the morning, we pour the beans out into a colander and rinse. The soaking liquid just goes down the drain.
Boil water. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil, add 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt, bay leaves, and beans. Bring it all back to a boil.
Simmer. Reduce heat and simmer until the beans are tender, about 1-2 hours. We can’t be more specific as it depends on how fresh your beans are. Yeah, we know they’re dried, but, as they sit on the shelf, they become drier, and take longer to cook. We’ve had some done in 45 minutes, and some that never really got completely done. So keep checking.
Cool and drain. Remove the bay leaves and let the beans cool, then drain, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking liquid. The amount isn’t too critical; we’ll use it to adjust the consistency of the hummus later on.
Grind beans. For a large batch like this, we find it easiest to just run the beans through a grinder. If we made a smaller batch, we might just use a food processor. If you have the energy and stamina, you probably could just mash ’em.
Mix everything. Yep, add the cumin, the lemon juice, the tahini, and the 2 teaspoons of salt right into the beans. As you mix, add some of the reserved liquid to make the hummus “dippable.” You might even need more; in which case, add a little water.
Taste and adjust. Get out a cracker and taste your hummus. Does it need more tahini? Add a bit more. More salt? Add some. Basically, make this hummus taste good to you.
We really like this hummus as an alternative to the standard hummi (what’s the plural of hummu, anyway?). It’s great when you need a lot, doesn’t really take too much of your time (just let those beans simmer), and it surprises most people used to garlicky chickpea hummus. We give it four stars.