Hummus, the delicious Middle Eastern spread, is not only tasty, it’s also nutritious, versatile, and a cinch to prepare.
Some people make hummus from canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), but we think the flavor is much better if you use dried chickpeas. Sous vide is perfect for pulses, or dried legumes, including dried peas, beans, and lentils, as well as chickpeas. After we made frijoles (pinto beans) sous vide, it’s the only way we’ll cook them now. The flavors are definitely enhanced, and it’s so easy to just seal the bag and let them cook away without having to check on them and stir them.
This recipe makes a very smooth and creamy spread. While researching it, we came across a lot of suggestions for making a creamy hummus. Some blogs propose removing the skins from the cooked chickpeas for the creamiest results. Sorry, tedious and unnecessary with the sous vide technique. Others swear by baking soda in the soaking water, and while the results were creamy, as promised, we didn’t think the taste of the cooked chickpeas was as good. We also read that chana dal, a relative of the chickpea, makes a creamier spread, but we preferred the flavor of the chickpea version. To each his own!
We usually serve hummus drizzled with some olive oil and topped with toasted pine nuts. Accompany it with crackers, pita bread, toasted baguette slices, or with crudités. Hummus is also delicious with roasted vegetables and with roasted meats such as chicken or lamb.
You can add other flavors to the hummus — roasted peppers, roasted garlic, chipotle chiles, cilantro, cumin, sun-dried tomatoes….
Be sure to save any unused cooking liquid — it has really nice flavor. You could make a lovely soup of the broth; add a handful of the cooked chickpeas and a few vegetables, season, and serve. One night while we were recipe testing we happened to be making green chile and added the cooking liquid to it. Delicious.
Makes about 3 cups
- Soak the chickpeas in water overnight. Be sure to use enough water as they will absorb the liquid and expand in size.
- Preheat the water bath to 195°F (91°C).
- Drain the chickpeas and place in a large zip lock food bag. Add the garlic, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, and 4 cups of fresh water. Seal using the water displacement method.
- Cook for 6 hours.
- Drain the chickpeas and transfer to a bowl, reserving the cooking liquid.
- Place the sesame oil, tahini, and the juice of 2 lemons in a blender jar. Add about a cup of the cooking liquid and purée, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the jar, until you have a smooth, creamy mixture. You may have to add more cooking liquid.
- Add half the cooked chickpeas and blend until smooth. Add the remaining chickpeas and blend until smooth, adding more of the reserved cooking liquid as needed to get a creamy texture.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt, and piment d’Espelette and blend until combined. Taste for seasoning. I usually add more lemon juice at this point.
- To serve as an appetizer spread, transfer the hummus to a bowl, drizzle with good olive oil, and top with toasted pine nuts. Accompany with pita bread, crackers, toasted baguette slices, or raw or roasted vegetables.