Makes 6 servings
Music Pairing: Beginning to See the Light by The Velvet Undergound
It has been said that removing the tiny hulls from the chickpeas makes for a smoother, creamier hummus. I tried that craziness once, and didn’t see any noticeable difference worth the time and effort. I did, however, try this technique for cooking my chickpeas, and think it’s well worth the extra time after tasting my recent batch of hummus. It’s brilliant, actually, and a great compromise. Rather than remove every skin, about half of them come off on their own, albeit with some coaxing. I’ll warn you, though, that there will be a lot of foam to skim off. You also don’t want to stray too far from your stove when it comes to a boil, or you’ll have a mess to clean up as the foam cascades over the top of the pot (a reaction from the baking soda).
According to Ottolenghi and Tamimi, the baking soda acts as an abrasive that helps release the skins. I think it also helps soften the chickpeas quicker, too. I didn’t find the skins to simply float to the surface on their own, though. It took some frequent stirring, and skimming. I also strained my chickpeas from their cooking liquid (reserving it, of course, in a jar), so I could pick out the remaining skins that couldn’t be easily skimmed off (there were quite a few!).
Admittedly, it is a very fussy way to cook chickpeas, but it really did yield the smoothest hummus I’ve ever made. My solution will be to make a double batch, and freeze it in ready-to-make portions. If Homemade with Love was your introduction to cooking beans from scratch, this is a good intermediate exercise to “up your game”. A word about equipment— you really do need a good powered food processor or blender. I recently bought an 1100-watt Ninja blender at Macy’s for less than $100, and it’s been a great kitchen investment. It serves double duty as a blender and food processor, freeing up valuable counter space at my house upstate (which has perhaps the world’s tiniest kitchen, in a house, that is).
2 cups (400 grams) cooked chickpeas (made using this method)
1/4 cup (60 grams) tahini
1 small garlic clove, peeled & smashed
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel
Freshly squeezed juice of one medium lemon
Pinch of ground cumin
1 to 2 tablespoons reserved chickpea cooking liquid
Extra virgin olive oil, for garnishing
Add everything, except for the cooking liquid, to the bowl of a food processor or very powerful blender. Pulse a few times, to break up the chickpeas, then turn it onto a steady process until the mixture becomes smooth (you may need to stop and scrape the bowl a few times). Add the reserved cooking liquid until it reaches the desired level of creaminess.
Serve at once, with a bit of olive oil drizzled on top. Leftovers may be stored in an air tight container in the fridge for up to three days.