World’s Best Hummus

A recipe from Mirit Cohen

Mirit led a workshop at Eat Retreat Sonoma County on her favorite way to make hummus. The title “world’s best” was awared after we tasted it.

When people ask for my hummus recipe, I tell them it’s not about the ingredients but the technique. The most important step is to way overcook the chickpeas.

  • 1 cup dry chickpeas
  • 1 quartered onion
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2.25 cups of tahini paste (well-stirred), added to taste
  • 2 cups of lemon juice, added to taste
  • 2 to 4 cloves raw garlic, added to taste
  • 3 tablespoon salt, added to taste

Soak and cook the chickpeas

Start by soaking the chickpeas for at least three hours or overnight. Drain and place them in a pot and cover with about four times as much fresh water as chickpeas. They’ll soak up at least that much. Throw in the onion, celery, carrot and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and cook for at least 6 to 8 hours, stirring and adding more water as needed. (You can also leave overnight—just make sure it’s on low heat and that there’s plenty of water.) You’ll know the chickpeas are done when the skins are floating about in the water and you can smash one between your two fingers without feeling one bit of grittiness. The chickpeas should have tripled or quadrupled in size. The liquid should look golden and murky like chicken stock that’s been stirred too much. Turn off the heat and let chickpeas cool in the liquid. Once cool, the liquid will be pretty thick, almost jelly-like. This is because you’ve cooked a lot of the natural pectin out of the chickpeas and into the liquid. Drain the chickpeas, but reserve the liquid.

Blending the hummus

Assemble your other ingredients. This is the most forgiving part, so make it to your own taste. Throw the chickpeas in a food processor and add tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt, and get it started. If it’s really thick, use the liquid from the chickpeas to adjust enough for the food processor to work. I like to leave it pretty thick. Let it spin in the processor for as long as you can without burning out the motor. This is also important for a smooth consistency. Taste for all of your seasonings. Add more tahini and lemon juice than you think it needs at first. Salt, too. The hummus is ready when able to hold stiff peaks, but it will thicken even more in the refrigerator overnight.

To serve, put in a bowl, garnish with paprika (smoked is especially delicious) and good extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy with fresh pita.