Saturday, March 17, 2012

Smooth Sabra-style hummus

I used to make my own hummus at home several years ago, before I discovered Sabra brand hummus at the store. It was so much creamier and smoother and richer than mine. However, it can be rather expensive, and I decided to look on the internet to see if anyone had approximated that texture at home, since the brand has many dedicated fans. After combining different ideas and approaches and working on my own flavorings, I've found a recipe I can't help but eat and eat.

1 15.5 oz can of garbanzo beans
1/4 cup almond butter (I'm sure you could use the classic tahini, too)
3 tbsp lemon juice (juice from 1 medium lemon)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp water
1 rounded tsp finely diced kalamata olives
1 clove garlic
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp chipotle Tabasco sauce
1 rounded tbsp finely diced kalamata olives

(My favorite olives are Mezzetta brand pitted kalamata marinated in Napa Valley cabernet, which have a slightly more wine-y and more subtle vinegar flavor than your standard option.)

1) Open can of garbanzo beans and cover with a half-inch of water in saucepan. Boil for 20 minutes. This is the first key to smooth hummus, as garbanzo beans are canned to have a crunch (for salads and such), and need to be further tenderized for blending.

2) Add the almond butter and lemon juice in the blender, and blend just these two ingredients first. This is the other key, which is to get the almond butter almost whipped in texture.

3) Add the olive oil, water, 1 tsp olives, salt, cumin, garlic, and Tabasco, and blend again. At this point the mixture should be rather liquid and flow smoothly.

4) Add half of the boiled garbanzo beans, stir into the mixture with a knife (with the blender NOT on the base, just to be safe), and then blend well.

5) Add the remaining half of the beans, stirring them into the mixture first, and then blending well. At the point the mixture should be thick but still move slowly in the blender. (If it's too thick and it's only blending at the bottom, add some more water.)

6) Just a note: I wouldn't recommend doubling this recipe, as a single recipe fills the blender halfway and I'm not sure the vortex of the blades would work on a mixture any higher. If you want to make a lot for a party or many guests, my recommendation would be to do it in batches.

7) Spoon mixture into bowl (getting as much as you feel comfortable scraping out around the blender blades), and then add the rounded tablespoon of kalamata olives and stir. If you can convince yourself to wait, chill for an hour or two for best taste. I very often dig right in!

Alternate flavoring option:
Substitute canned diced tomatoes, crushed into small pieces with your fingers, for the olives in both instances. This makes for a lighter, sweeter flavor that I like equally well. If you're having a party, make both!

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