Thu 5 Oct 2017
Read other related stories: Charcoal Grill , Ember Cooking , Pepper , Vegetables
HUMMUS TAKES A SPICY-CHAR TWIST
The centuries old Arabic bean dip has gained in popularity substantially over the past few years in United States. Part of the draw is the fact that hummus is high in protein and fiber, and low in fat.
Give It A Flavor Twist
I thought I’d take this popular snack and appetizer item and give it a new twist by first showing you how to add a wonderful smoky, char flavor to it.
There is nothing like the flavor of peppers on hot coals. One of my favorite varieties of pepper are Hungarian, especially the hot ones. That’s why I’ve elected to bring out my kettle grill, specifically, the Stok™ brand, and char or ember cook Hungarian hot peppers. Using a chimney starter, I set up hot coals down the center of the charcoal area and add just one chunk of wild cherry wood from SmokinLicious®. Once the coals are vibrating heat, I will add my cleaned peppers directly to the coals for a quick method of charring. The time investment is really in the grill set up, not in the cooking, as peppers cook quite fast on hot coals.
A Spicy-Char Hummus Recipe Like No Other
Once the coals and wood have flavored the peppers, I take these charred beauties and make a Smoked Hungarian Pepper Hummus bursting with the flavors of pepper, fresh parsley, garlic, and cumin. Whether you elect to use hot or sweet Hungarian peppers, this is sure to become one of your favorite humus recipes.
With the charcoal burning down to hot embers, I prepare the Hungarian peppers. First, a simple wash the peppers and pat dry. Then I cut off the stem end and pull out the membrane and seeds. Remember, the more membrane and seeds you leave in a hot pepper, the hotter the flavor will be. Once de-seeded, these peppers are ready to be nestled in the hot coals.
To The Coals For Char & Flavor
With the Hungarian peppers de-seeded and membranes removed, on to the hot coals they go. I’ve kept some unlit coals banked to each side of the kettle grill just in case I want to bring in more heat. Plus, this will allow the coals to be used for other food items while the grill is still hot. These peppers will only take 5 minutes or so on each side. I do not disturb the peppers when first placed on the coals for at least 5 minutes, then gentle turn them with tongs until charring occurs on all sides. Don’t be concerned if the skin becomes very black as it can be easily removed. Plus, for our spicy-char hummus recipe, these charred beauties will be pulsed to a smooth consistency where the blackened skin won’t be revealed.
Once removed from the grill, I take the peppers and put them in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. This will help produce moisture to remove any skin you don’t want as part of your recipe. And speaking of recipes, it’s time to gather our ingredients and start assembling our Smoked Hungarian Pepper Hummus.
Traditional Ingredients Meet Char Flavor
We are stepping up the flavor of hummus by featuring our perfectly charred Hungarian peppers. To make Spicy-Char Hummus, gather the following ingredients:
- 2 15 ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed
- 2-3 charred Hungarian peppers, depending on size
- 1 large garlic clove, finely diced (you can use minced garlic as a substitute)
- 1 cup Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
- 2 medium green onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 6 tablespoons Tahini
- 3 whole lemons, juiced
- 1 teaspoon fresh pepper
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- ½ cup oil
- Hungarian sweet paprika or smoked Spanish paprika for garnish
Creamy Hummus Starts With A Boil
Here’s the secret to a truly creamy hummus consistency: cooking the chickpeas before processing. Take your 2 cans of chickpeas and rinse well under running water. Then pour into a saucepan and cover the chickpeas with water. Place on high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow the chickpeas to soften for 40 minutes. Add more water if needed to keep the chickpeas covered in liquid through the boiling time. Then remove from heat, strain the water, and set aside to cool.
Time To Process
To start our spicy-char hummus, first place the rough chopped charred peppers into the food processor. Add the garlic, parsley, onion and rosemary and process until finely combined. As soon as the processor starts, you’ll be hit by the strong aromatics in this recipe, which is trademark for traditional hummus. The total processing time will be just minutes. Then remove the cover and prepare for the next round of ingredients.
The final ingredients of our spicy-char hummus are added to the food processor: the boiled chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, olive oil, and tamari. At this stage, we will process until the ingredients form a thick paste, which will take about 10 minutes. I always keep water or oil available to thin down the mixture if it should go too thick. Remember, you want this to be thick but not to the point where it can’t be easily spread. Once combined, the flavors will reveal themselves best if you store the mixture in an air tight container for at least 24 hours.
Serving Options Are Endless
After letting the processed hummus mixture that includes charred Hungarian peppers, garlic, parsley, onions, rosemary, chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, olive oil, and tamari rest for 24 hours, it’s now time to serve this highly aromatic recipe. If using as an appetizer, I like to put the hummus into a bowl, sprinkle with a sweet or smoked paprika, drizzle with olive oil, and add some finely chopped charred Hungarian peppers to the center. I then surround the bowl with slices of baguette, pita chips or triangles, and vegetables.
This hummus goes with so many different things. In fact, I love to use it as a topping to an Angus burger, or grilled chicken and fish. It is so versatile that you’ll be sure to find all types of uses for it. The best part, you’ll have a satisfying, full of flavor healthy alternative that will make this a favorite anytime of the year.