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The first time I had hummus at The Prado in San Diego’s historic Balboa Park, I knew it was the gold standard by which all future hummus would be judged. Their hummus is dense and creamy with a subtle chipotle spice. Freshly baked flat bread crisps, arranged like a bouquet on each mosaic table beg you to begin munching as soon as you sit down. Hummus was novel back then. Now, hummus is everywhere. And thankfully so is tahini, the sesame paste that makes hummus hummussy. Years later, after making countless blenders full of hummus, I’ve developed this Chipotle Hummus Recipe which I think meets the gold standard of The Prado. And best of all, there’s no nasty drive to San Diego on the 405 required.
Ingredients for Chipotle Hummus:
1 can (15 oz) Chickpeas/Garbonzo Beans (liquid reserved)
4 tbsp tahini
4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 – 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 – 1 tsp cumin
1/4 red bell pepper (about 5 strips)
5 cloves garlic
2 slices onion
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper
NOTES: This recipe makes two and a half cups hummus. Toasted pine nuts, a squeeze of lemon and olive oil finish the dish. Flavors intensify over time. For best flavor, make in advance and chill completely before serving. For a mild hummus, consider reducing garlic to 3 cloves and use 1/2 teaspoon each chipotle chili powder and cumin; for spicy, increase to 1 teaspoon of each.
Prepare the vegetables. Heat a dry skillet to medium high and roast red bell pepper, onion and whole garlic cloves until desired level of char. When cool, squeeze garlic cloves from skin.
Prepare the chickpeas. Drain chickpeas, reserving liquid. Some hummus aficionados swear that you need to remove the transparent “shell” from each bean. I say, turn the blender up higher. However, I do recommend shelling chickpeas if used as a garnish. Looks like a little garbonzo butt!
Prepare the hummus. Add all ingredients to blender (with the exception of about 20 chickpeas) and combine. Add reserved chickpea liquid as needed for consistency (about 4 tbsp). Blend until mixture runs freely through processor and an inverted tornado has formed. Hummus should be smooth and creamy.
For best results, cover and chill for at least an hour. Garnish with toasted pine nuts (or reserved chickpeas shown above), a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of chipotle chili powder and flat leaf parsley. Serve with flat bread, pita bread, pita chips or even tortilla chips and of course, carrots, celery, cucumber and other veggies.
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