Some food, some drink.
Respect the Dip: Spicy Chipotle-Lime Hummus with Black-Eyed Peas.
I can't stand going to restaurants that half-ass their appetizers. It just sets the tone for the entire meal. Case in point: Don't ever serve me hummus with tortilla chips; that is unless the hummus was made for tortilla chips. By using smoky-spicy chipotle, tangy lime, a Southwest spice-set and splitting the legume difference with black-eyed peas, I've crafted a hummus that is totally tortilla chip-appropriate. Even if you don't happen to be looking for an appetizer to put out for that perfect spread during the big game, this chipotle-lime hummus with black-eyed peas is a winner (did I mention it's vegan too?).
I have no problems with fusion cuisine, but please - for crying out loud, don't ever serve me hummus with tortilla chips. When I go to a restaurant and I see a plate of creamy, garlicky, Fabaceae-based goodness paired with a pile of corn chips, it just seems like a cop-out. I mean, where's the plate of fresh vegetables? Is it really too much to ask to get some freakin' pita here? I say that if you're going to cross the cultural streams and go fusion, then maybe it oughtta be more out of love for the food rather than being just plain lazy. Having said all that, I think it's totally appropriate to serve a hummus with tortilla chips if said dip was crafted with the flavors and texture of the chip in mind.
Let's call a spade a spade here; hummus for all its trendy, coed vegetarian-wannabe popularity is simply bean dip. To be certain, bean dip rocks, but to serve the wrong dipping instrument along with is to do a disservice to the dip. With a traditional hummus, I think there's something about the combination of garbanzo, lemon, and tahini that just doesn't jibe with that salty roasted corn flavor of the chip. Flavor considerations aside, I think it's a pairing that just feels wrong. In an attempt to set things right, I tinkered with my standard hummus recipe to find a flavor set that was more appropriate. The ingredient list isn't any more fussy than plain the ol' hummus you're used to; and if you're the type that has more than just condiments, a six-pack, and a half-drank bottle of sports drink in your fridge, then I bet you've got 90% or more of what you need in the pantry already.
Recipe: Jump to the detailed recipe. (or, keep reading for the gist of it) -
Reserve 1/2 cup of the drained and rinsed black eyed peas. To the bowl of your favorite food processor, add what remains of the black-eyed peas, the rinsed and drained chick peas, lime juice, lime zest, roasted garlic, fresh garlic, peanut butter, salt, coriander, cumin, black pepper, and minced chipotle. Put the spurs to it and buzz for at least 30 seconds before slowly drizzling in the olive oil as you continue to process until you reach the desired consistency. If you don't use all the oil, that's fine. If you do, then feel free to add water by the tableespoon until you get there. Finish by stirring or pulsing in the remainder of the black-eyed peas and cilantro. Garnish with a drizzle of oil, more cilantro, and maybe even a bit of chopped tomato.
- You can do this in a blender, but it's a pain in the ass. Stick blender: ditto. Time to get that food processor out from the recesses of your pantry, or at least use a blending device with a wide, flat bottom, so as to promote churn of what will be a relatively thick paste.
- As we're dealing with two different varieties of legume, it's really about convenience that we're using canned beans. Buuut, if you're really wanting to do it up right, then I absolutely recommend the 90 minute no-soak method for dry bean cooking (you've been looking for an excuse to expand your cast iron collection, haven't ya?).
- The one variable that you can never fully account for in a hummus recipe is the water. Definitely drain and rinse canned beans regardless, 'cuz bean water's just funky. But because net water content can vary by bean type, cooking method, and even because of your other ingredients, you may have to keep a little H2O on hand to make adjustments.
- For brevity's sake, we're just going to assume you've got roasted garlic on-hand. If you're baking or roasting anything, what's the harm in throwing a bulb or two in the oven along with? Most garlic bulbs yield about 12 cloves; and I doubt you'll have a problem making use of the remaining eight. Oh, you're the stubborn type huh? Well, roasted garlic tastes nothing like the fresh stuff; so if you're just dead-set against roasting garlic, know that more than one clove fresh will be one clove too many.
- If you've ever made a more traditional hummus at home (and you should because the deli counter stuff is often wretched), you know that substituting peanut butter is considered a bit "low-rent" and thus plays Randy Quaid to tahini's Chevy Chase. In this recipe however, peanut butter is no longer the understudy. I like the the up-front and familiar flavor of peanut butter where significant chile is present (I'm sure you've had a stir-fry somewhere along the way that would support this claim).
Generally speaking, if I could pick just one quality about hummus to complain about, it'd have to be texture. Runny hummus, and hummus that's been pureed into oblivion aren't my cup of tea. I purposely set aside those black-eyed peas to add some much-needed texture; and while this hummus isn't going to fall all over a plate, the aeration provided courtesy of the food processor has ensured that even the daintiest tortilla chips aren't going to get ensnared in the dip dish.
Make no mistake, this is still hummus. Garlic-haters, and folks entertaining for vampires need not apply. The garlic will linger as long as the smoky heat of the chipotle, but that hit of acid and essential oils courtesy of the the lime keeps it fresh and bright with each dip of the chip. And this stuff isn't just for corn chips; oh no. You could set a dish next to a plate of fresh veggies, or if you wanted to get fancy, fry up some hoe cakes, quarter 'em, and top each triangle with hummus and garnish. Whether you serve it simple or go all-out with your spread, I guarantee it's all bound to get destroyed at your next opportunity to entertain.